Bomb drops. Blow outs. Threaded tubes. Lay backs. Oops. Scoops. Circumfluous carves, arms dropped. And all of it before the dinner bell rang and the kiddies were called off to beddy-bye. That’s what a surf film premiere can be about, and Wednesday evening, that’s what one was, courtesy of J.J. Florence and Blake Kueny.
North Shore residents, permanent and otherwise, were treated to a treat of treats, as they huddled together at the Banzai Skatepark upon concrete hips and scraped coping for a cinematic onslaught. An onslaught showcasing the incredible on-water talents of a surf star in his undeniable prime.
From the line-ups of his home state to the chilled waters of Australia to Tahiti, a packed and rowdy crowd bore witness. And all were handled — man, even — by the 20-year-old phenom with a taste for the unexpected and a love for just the same. Eager cheers, whoops and yeeeeeews resonated through the night sky as young Florence barreled his way into the collective heart and consciousness of every person in attendance.
As the waves on screen spit, breathed and bled, Florence seemed, for lack of better phrase, one with them. At times he wore the lip on his head, the same as the figurative cape on his back, and the audience couldn’t help but eat it up.
Some young’uns kick turned the gritted transition beneath the screen during the performance. Some not-so-young’uns lofted aerial after aerial in its incandescent aftermath, proving that the connection between surf and skate has grown nothing but closer. In the wake of artists like John John, high performance surfing may never be the same. —Garrett English