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John John Florence is featured among GQ's "The Anointed Ones: The 10 Greatest Athletes of t

John John Florence [images by Pari Dukovic]

Surfing is, in some profound way, a non-competitive sport: You contend with waves, not with one another. So it was strange when lifelong surfers and habitués of Oahu's North Shore began talking about a gangly blond adolescent Hawaii native who they said was the best in the world. How could they really know? Especially when, for years, John John Florence lost nearly every competition he entered? But then last year, he won everything there was to win, and the rest of us got our answer. There is a practical explanation for his genius—he grew up opposite Pipeline, one of the world's most terrifying waves, so now he surfs waves like it the way other kids ride bikes around their own neighborhoods—but it's also an intangible matter of style: He just looks better, and more natural, on a surfboard than anyone else who has come along. —Zach Baron

Check out the other amazing athletes he holds company with

@ The Anointed Ones: The 10 Greates Athletes of the Future


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