“Join me brother @john_john_florence the Slab tour awaits!”
Days after his brother, Nathan Florence, released drone footage of a great white shark perusing the lineup of Jeffrey’s Bay, stalking competitors Rio Waida and Ian Gentil, John John Florence was eliminated from competition in dramatic, unjust fashion.
The two-time world champ was robbed, point blank.
The WSL posted JJF’s mugger, Conor O’Leary, taking a glum post-heat shower when the news broke that he had achieved the 8.47 needed to empty the well-greased pockets of Florence, owner of lux utilitarian sports clothing brand Florence Marine X.
“Give me your watch while I’m at it,” a chipper O’Leary could be heard saying as he raised a fist to the sky in jubilant celebration.
No one believed O’Leary had gotten the score, not even WSL employee and broadcaster Peter Mel who, before comparing surfing to gymnastics, stated, “Felt a little disjointed.” He added, “[Conor O’Leary] did everything, though. Put in a good effort, but I just don’t see it going 8.47.”
It went 8.70.
Hugs were administered to the Australian bandit, O’Leary, while a dejected Florence walked down the beach in disbelief as to how his loot could have been so easily swindled by a group of faceless international judges.
John John Florence Was Looking Strong
JJF had been in incredible form leading up to the J-Bay Open, in what would be his first return to the shark-infested right-hand point contest break since 2017, in which he placed 5th.
In 2018 and 2019, John John was sidelined due to injury, while in 2020 the world was sidelined due to covid.
Foolishly, Jeffrey’s Bay was not on the 2021 schedule.
Last year, John John Florence, once again, was forced to pull out of the contest due to injury.
Chomping at the bit might be an understatement for the regular-footed world champion surfer from the North Shore.
Several clips on John John’s instagram, one featuring he and his brother, Nathan Florence, trading South African waves had me firmly convinced he was en route to claiming his first victory at Jeffrey’s Bay (I couldn’t believe it either).
This brilliant intuition of mine was only confirmed as Florence tore his way through the early rounds, and was all but solidified into the quarterfinals until, of course, tragedy struck.
John John Florence’s first victory at J-Bay will have to wait, for the judges downed their silly juice just in time for Conor O’Leary’s last wave of the heat. Prior, the heat had been fairly judged. They had it in the bag. Another clean heat judged. All they had to do was score one more wave appropriately and call it a day, scandal-free.
“Hold my beer,” an onlooker reported hearing the American judge say to the South African judge as O’Leary’s final ride came to an end.
Mind you, this has nothing to do with Conor O’Leary. He’s done nothing wrong. He surfed magnificently (though not better than JJF) the entire heat, but even he will tell you he didn’t deserve the score. He and the wave were simply out of sync from the very start.
There’s only one explanation…
The ghost of ex-CEO Erik “Elo” Logan continues to haunt the judging booth.
If you’ll recall, it was a judging controversy that shocked the surfing world in Lemoore, California and led to the untimely (but oh so timely) and cold dismissal of the WSL CEO mid-event in Rio.
Now, here we are again.
I can hear Elo’s overgrown fingernails scratching his passive-aggressive open letter to the surfing community at large into the walls of whatever far-off prison he has been banished to by lordly billionaire of the WSL Dirk Ziff.
A letter, unfortunately, no one will read.
“Take your shirt off, Filipe!” a grisly Elo will scream as he collapses to floor, his short-period sobs swelling like the forecast at Jeffrey’s Bay.
Unfortunately, we won’t get any surfing from John John Florence or crying from Erik “Elo” Logan in the coming days, but we do get the comment section on the WSL’s post of Conor O’Leary’s buzzer beater.
Hell hath no fury like the WSL’s comment section.
“@john_john_florence leave this reality series. it’s worse than real housewives of trestles, or that awful surf reality series they did that zeke won.“
“Judges were the only ones who thought it was the score.“
“@john_john_florence do it! You were robbed! Even Dog knew! Leave the Asshat Surf League!“
“biggest rip off I’ve ever seen watching professional surfing… no words but terrible words to describe this BS judging“
Then things got very, very interesting…
Nathan Florence entered the fold with an appeal to his older brother.
“Join me brother @john_john_florence the Slab tour awaits!”
The Slab Tour is what brother Nathan of House Florence has dubbed his ceaseless pursuit of huge slabs.
For a taste, here’s some harrowing POV GoPro footage he recorded while surfing Puerto Escondido earlier this year.
The Slab Tour sounds awfully familiar to something some writer won’t shut up about. What was it called again? Oh yeah, the Strike Tour. They’re different, I know, but essence of each remain the same: best surfers on the best waves n’ all, only the whims and fancies of huge swells guiding them.
Slab Tour has a brawnier ring to it, though, I do admit.
You won’t believe what happened next…
Nathan’s brother, John John Florence, fresh off wrongful termination, replied to his brother’s invitation:
“@nathan_florence it might be time 😂”
Did John John Florence, in a clear signal to his disapproval of the judging on the world tour, hint at his retirement from competition to join his brother in pursuit of clunking waves around the world?
Koby Abberton, fellow slab seeker of Bra Boys fame, adds further fuel to the fire and speaks directly to the brothers, “I will come out of retirement and show some sneaky ones I ain’t said anything about, Nate.”
If John John Florence retires from competition after this year and joins his brother on the Slab Tour, intermittently taking sailing trips I’m sure, would you tune in?
I’m fairly certain you would.
Is JJF Retiring?
The WSL has now upset four former world champions.
Do they have the fire-power to start their own tour?
I mean, yeah, they do. They’re four world champions, and three of them are from Brazil, the country with the most ravenous appetite for more surfing.
Something’s brewing, I can feel it.