“Gravity” by John John Florence

Please, whatever you do, don’t call “Gravity”, the new release from John John Florence and Parallel Sea Productions, “content.” I’d rather not refer to it as an edit, either, but sometimes you gotta mix it up. If we’re being precise, “Gravity” is a short film. Maybe it’s just semantics, maybe I’m just a pretentious dork, but I think it’s an important distinction.

There are few things more abundant these days than content. And yet art — I’m talking the real shit, not “curating”, not whatever it is that influencers do — is as scarce as ever. But nothing puts cheap construction and shoddy craftsmanship into sudden, sharp focus quite like placing it alongside something that’s real and excellent. “Gravity” is awesome, and watching it just might make you hungry for other well made things.

Pipeline

To be clear, I welcome the flood of surfing content that social media and YouTube have unleashed upon our unsuspecting attention spans. Much of what I see on these platforms is fantastic because it’s raw and unfiltered. That said, part of what makes “Gravity” so great is the sense of craftsmanship. Clocking in at just under twenty minutes, it’s clear the footage has been carefully molded into something lean and muscular.

“Gravity” is an ode to Florence’s beloved North Shore of Oahu. It stars Florence and his younger brothers Nathan and Ivan, and the surfing is incredible. To no one’s surprise, the winter section features next level performances. John John is a grown ass man and his surfing reflects it. I like the Pipeline clips as much as the next person, but Florence’s frontside carves on huge, powerful rights are so heavy it feels like they’ll show up on the Richter scale.

The searing surfing footage is complemented by a vibe that I would describe as restrained, even sensitive at times. There are plenty of shots that highlight the stunning natural beauty of the North Shore. The three Florence brothers provide voiceover commentary throughout that I found oddly touching. They are clearly quite close, and hearing them reminisce about unremarkable childhood memories somehow gave “Gravity” an extra sense of depth.

I also can’t help but think about “Gravity” in terms of John John’s larger career. Florence might be quiet, but it’s unmistakable when he has something to say, and it’s clear that releasing high quality films is very important to him. There’s a thoughtfulness that sets Florence apart from his peers at the top of the surfing pyramid, and it shows in his movies.

There’s plenty of low hanging fruit to be found by gaming the Instagram algorithm and other tactics that prioritize reach over quality. But someone’s gotta be hellbent on putting out the best surf films, the numbers be damned, and I’m just stoked that that person just so happens to be one of the greatest surfers of all time.

You can purchase “Gravity” on iTunes here.

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1 comments

  1. Ralphie Wigs says:

    A movie about my surfing should be called “Gravity”. A movie about the Florence brothers should be called “I can Fly!”