John John Florence Talks Olympic Preparations
Like a Hawaiian lei, an Olympic Gold Medal will be placed over the head of a surfer this summer for the first time in history. So, we touched base with our boy from the land of leis, John John Florence, to talk about all things Olympics.
Two-time World Champion and Team USA surfer, Florence filled us in on what he is doing to prepare for surfing's debut at the Tokyo Games, how many boards he plans to take and why he is excited. When things get competitive, Florence surfs to win and knows what it takes to gain an edge. Read up on his approach for what's to come below.
For more Olympic surfing info, read our breakdown on athlete qualification, the 6-round contest format and the first-ever olympic wave.
Nixon: Congratulations on qualifying for the inaugural US Olympic surf team. What are you looking forward to most about this experience?
JJF: Thank you! I think that what I’m looking forward to most is the opportunity to represent Hawaii and the USA on the Olympic stage, alongside some childhood friends in Carissa and Kolohe. It will also be a lot of fun spending time with Caroline, she’s an amazing surfer and a great person to be around.
The Olympic format is a little different from the World Tour. What differences will the 4 person heats add to the competition dynamics?
Yeah the format is a bit different, but I’ve surfed plenty of 4-man heats. The first two stops of the Triple Crown are all 4-man heats. So it’s different from the World Tour, but similar to competition I’m quite familiar with.
What will training look like for you up until the Summer Games? How has The Heat watch been helping you?
Right now, training is all about getting my body healthy and to peak fitness. As we get a little bit closer to the Games, I’ll spend a lot of time on equipment and strategy. Every time I surf regular heats, mock heats, I use my watch. A digital watch is a massive part of any competitive surfers success. So I’d say it has been helping me a lot, ha!
Have you ever surfed Tsurigasaki Beach, the venue for the Tokyo Olympics? If so, can you describe it?
I haven’t surfed the Olympic venue just yet, but I’ve been watching a good amount of footage. I’ll be spending time at waves that do a good imitation of Tsurigasaki Beach for training. From what I’ve seen, it can be fun. Chances are it will be around the head-high range.
How many boards does one bring for a competition like this?
I’ll probably bring 5-6 A++ boards that I’ve put through the paces. Since we aren’t able to go to the venue ahead of competition, I’ll probably bring 3-4 more boards with slight variances from the A++ boards. I’ll be working closely with Pyzel to narrow down what those unique factors might be.
What other sports are you interested in checking out while you are there?
Well, from what I understand we might not be able to attend other sports since we’re outside of the village. I could be wrong, it seems to be evolving each day. All that aside, I think that watching swimming and one of the newer Olympic sports like rock climbing would be cool.
Are there any specific athletes you are looking forward to meeting at the Olympics?
Not any one person in particular, but I always like hearing different perspectives, discovering similarities to surfing in different sports. I’m sure I’ll get to make a few friends, looking forward to it for sure.
Good Luck from all of us here at Nixon, we will all be rooting for you and Team USA!
Thank you team!