The AT50: Surfer John John Florence (#33)
Highlights: Became the youngest competitor ever in the 2005 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing; youngest-ever winner of the Vans World Cup of Surfing in 2011; received his first sponsorship at age 6.
Quote: "The thing that messes you up most is your head. Keeping a straight, focused mentality through a lot of the events and not thinking about it too much—but still staying focused."
Fact: Florence claims to have first been on a surfboard at six months.
AT50 Point Total: 38.5
Surfing prodigy-turned-force-to-be-reckoned-with John John Florence likes to object to his diminutive nickname in interviews, but both sides have a point. Having gone pro at age six (no, really), and surfed Hawaii's infamous Pipeline before he was ten, Surfer Magazine called him "the original prepubescent superstar, the most famous surfer in the world under 4 feet tall." And yet Florence doesn't surf like the kind of wide-eyed tyke you'd expect to be called "John John."
The oldest of three boys, all pro surfers, Florence has been crushing waves with the big boys since he was 13, when he became the youngest ever to compete in the North Shore's presitigious Vans Triple Crown—and he did pretty well, too, beating out none other than surfing great Shane Dorian in one event. Oh yeah, the Triple Crown? He won that in 2011.
Now on the ASP World Championship Tour for his second season, Florence is battling it out with men twice his age. In 2012, his rookie season on the tour, Florence placed a solid 4th, scoring a victory at the Billabong Rio Pro.