The afternoon blues had just set in so we threw nine shekels at John John’s new film and hoped it would get us through the rest of the day.
According to John, he personally filmed a 20-minute tribute to the North Shore just to “do something that gets us surfing.” I think by “us” he meant him and his brothers, but maybe he also meant his fans.
Altruistic motives also mingled with JJ’s desire to keep surfing relevant as he roams the world on his red hull catamaran. According to prepress, every dollar earned was donated to Junior Lifeguard programs around O’ahu. If you’ve ever been to the North Shore, you’ll find the comfort of knowing you have a well-trained crew looking out for you.
Aside from a few frantic late drops in Waimea, Gravity will be filmed just a Frisbee toss from JJF’s front yard in Pipe during the winter of 2021-2022. In fact, part of it is filmed in the front yard and between dizzying surfing shots we’re briefly treated to scenes of John herding the gang around for a luau. It’s relaxed at home and flat out in the surf; The contrast between JJF’s two modes is evident in his mini-movie.
From the start it is clear that this is also a family festival in Florence. In the voiceover, we hear the three brothers longingly reflect on a humble but idyllic childhood when they went fishing outside of school on a small boat and anxiously waited for the scent of salt air mist to waft in, heralding the arrival of winter swelling. The summers were apparently spent elsewhere. We get a welcome glimpse into the life of surfing’s most famous modern family, but one day a full-blown Florence Brothers documentary would surely be a treat.
If there are any dramatic revelations in “Gravity,” it’s how well youngest brother Ivan surfs. Known for his love of the skate park, we see Ivan owning the tube, floating over the lip and weaving through precise turns. Yes, of course, the charismatic Nathan gets a good cameo too, but he’s no spotlight thief here.
Ultimately, the film belongs to John John, who delivers a feast of cloud-kitler rotations and amazing kegs. Perhaps best of all are the twenty or so frames devoted to John’s famous obverse, Carve Down. Watching John split huge chunks of the North Shore wave while Ozzy Osbourne blasts through the soundtrack is certainly a pick-me-up worth the price of two coffees.
Unfortunately, not all of us on the North Shore grew up with a rolling introduction to the world’s most famous surfing stage, but Gravity will make you want to surf. Like John John, Nathan, and Ivan, you’ll have to make do with what’s outside.
You can buy the strip at Amazon or at apple tv for $9.