View From a Blue Moon

Even landlubbers will enjoy John John Florence’s new surf film

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg

John John Florence visited us in East London once. He was with fellow Hawaiian Jamie O’ Brien, of Who Is Job fame, and they stayed at my friend Salty’s house, which is where we always used to stay, too.

We took them for a surf at some pretty average Nahoon Corner and then bought them Friesland milkshakes and Shamrock Pies after which we went to Buccaneers and the old Numbers on the beach and ended our evening at A Touch of Class.

Lemmetellyou, there is nothing classy about an East London strip-club, but when we walked in our friend Fish found R100 in the bathroom, which was a lot of money in those days, and we used this money to buy an entire Monster Hit’s album worth of dances for the bunch of us.

Thinking back on it now, I don’t understand how any of this was allowed, because if we were only 17 at the time that would’ve made John John, like, 12. And no 12-year old should ever be subjected to a very naked lady with an 80s style cesarean section scar sliding around a soapy stage like something out of Sea World.

Suffice to say that this episode in John John’s life is not featured in his new movie, View From a Blue Moon. In fact, when John John was filming in South Africa he drove straight past East London and only stopped when he was safely in the Transkei.

But before you get to see John John surfing the Wild Coast’s most secret spots there’s some early-90s 16mm footage of John John and friends playing in the shore break at Pipeline while Jack Johnson, John John’s neighbor, sings a song that he wrote about him called Seasick Dream.

John C. Reily narrates and filmmaker Blake Vincent Kueny does some Wes Anderson inspired sequences and then there’s the type of surfing, shot in 4K, that proves why people call John John the best surfer in the world despite him having not won a World Title. Yet.

This was the most expensive surf movie ever made, at $2 million-plus, with Red cameras and helicopters and it should go on to win whatever statuette is handed out at the Oscars of Surfing. 

The film is premiering at the Labia Theatre tonight and John John’s man on the ground in South Africa, Frank Solomon, who is busy making his own surf movie overseas, flew down to Cape Town to give a little speech. So check it out there or buy it here.