Field Report
October 2023 // 10 Min. Read

Brazil. El Salvador. South Africa. Tahiti. The back half of the tour means months on the road. Having scored perfect J-Bay in South Africa and securing his spot in the 2024 Olympics, John sat down to write out a quarterly update on where he's been and where he's going ahead of the North Shore winter season.

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Field Report

October 2023 // 10 Min. Read

Hey guys. Back again with some updates…

I think I’m getting the hang of this. Never quite on time quarterly, but getting closer ha! A lot has happened since the last time I checked in with a quarterly. I’m going to dive into some of the highlights.

We left for Brazil and after some wild weather and delays, made it into Rio.

I hadn’t been in Brazil for a few years so it was great to finally be back. Our good friend JD, who has been test piloting a lot of our gear while kiting / fishing, always hangs out with us in Brazil. We drove down to Saquarema and there was sort of a buzz in the air. We were all really excited for the event and spending time in the area. We stayed with Bettylou Sakura Johnson and her family for the Brazil event, which was a big highlight for all of us. She brought a really fun energy and excitement to the house. It was a good time surfing with her, getting ready for the comp together, and just hanging out enjoying Brazil. We had a really fun event, and mixed in some cool adventures to Buzios and went on the food tour. I felt like I’d turned a corner, feeling like myself again. I was able to relax and just enjoy competing. 

There were two massive highlights for me; 

1) We did a surf day with Favela Radical in Saquarema. It was so much fun surfing with the kids from Rocina. They had a blast. We all surfed together, played auchina (that game where you juggle the soccer ball with your feet), and a couple of intense soccer games. I was impressed with the kids and how excited they were to improve on their surfing. Favela Radical is an incredible organization that I encourage everyone to check out! 

2) Once the contest was over, we went into Rio for a few days to officially launch the Florence brand in Brazil. The Brazil team set up a few days of really fun events. It was pretty special for me to spend those days interacting with the community in Rio and seeing everyone embrace what we’re trying to do. That community is full of talented and passionate people, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they use the products and continue to support that community. 

After Brazil, we went to South Africa. Let me just say - that is a brutal flight hah.

Some of the gear I can’t go without on any flight, but especially the long flights, are the burgee hooded long sleeve t-shirt and the airtex utility pant. I’m not going to say that they made the flying any easier whatsoever, but at least I had on comfortable clothes. South Africa was a ton of fun! My whole family came out - Wife, Brothers, and Mom. We surfed the point a ton. JBay was firing leading up to, and during the contest. I can’t count the number of good waves I saw my brothers get. Nathan and I had a couple of fun doubles waves too. There is a good edit of those sessions on my YouTube if you want to check them out. So fun having firing surf during an event! We were due for some good surf during heats haha. 

Outside of the contest and surfing, we visited a few animal parks which is always an awesome experience. Also it was fun to be in a colder weather location to test some of the gear. I really like layering the high pile utility or off grid half zip fleece under the parachute down puffer.

Anyways, back to the quarterly. After the trek home from South Africa, I took a nice break from surfing and dove into some of my other hobbies. Lots of sailing, biking, and downwind foiling. I also spent some time testing some new boardshorts that are pretty crazy…I’m actually not sure how much I can talk about them yet? They are insanely light and they dry so quickly. I wont say too much about it now…the waves were fairly small at home, so I got really excited for surf in Tahiti! It’d been so long since I’d been, for a bunch of different reasons. 

So off we went to Tahiti.

It’s always a ton of fun spending so much time in the water. This time, Ross, Erik, and Brandon came along for the trip. There was a good swell right when we arrived. I was a little nervous. I hadn’t surfed Teahupoo that big in a long time. I got a good one right away which felt really good. It’s easy to forget how powerful and amazing that wave is. The guys in the Trials really scored some firing surf. We surfed nearby on those days and got some fun waves. Tahiti just makes you feel good! Nice people, healthy food, time spent in the ocean. And lots of card games haha. This year in Tahiti was more special than usual, it was really cool and an honor to finally be confirmed as an Olympian for the 2024 USA Surf Team. Goes without saying that I’m fired up for that event and excited that it’s at Teahupoo. I’m hoping that I can do a couple of trips between now and then to get some fun waves and keep dialing in equipment.

Overall, the tour this year was a challenge for me, especially through the first half.

The second half got a little easier when I found a rhythm and understanding of why I wanted to be there. It was great to get through Tahiti happy and healthy. 

A few product notes and brand moments before I sign off…

We got the windshield hooded rashguard across the line, and that is the ultimate Hawaii piece. Also, for climates similar to Hawaii. Think warm but windy. It solves for sun protection, wind chill, all while remaining incredibly light and flexible. This has been a tough product to get into production. Lots of versions and mistakes, but we got it to a great place. The modular impact suit is a piece I tested at the Eddie. It’s our impact suit updated, with modular foam pieces so that you can customize the buoyancy how you’d prefer. Pretty rad! Look out for a video on that soon. 

Important brand moments for me have been our new 4ocean partnership through membership, they’re doing awesome things pulling plastics out of the oceans.

And most importantly, our ability to raise funds and give Maui support through our Pro Hawaii gear and sales It’s going to be a long, long process to rebuild the Maui community. We sincerely appreciate all of the support given to that community. I’ll work on some fun ways to incentivize those purchases in the future! 

Thanks for your time!