The young prince is back!
The World Surf League just announced, via its eponymous website, that John John Florence and Kelly Slater will both surf in the Pipeline Masters on Oahu’s North Shore. Before we get into all the implications of a John John return let us first turn our attention to handshakes and the myriad problems that can arise from a simple squeeze. I present exhibit A.
Here we have John John and Kelly caught in what was supposed to be a humorous moment. Maybe a changing of the guard? Kelly ironically passing the baton to John John? Maybe but what Kelly accidentally passed to John John was a lady’s handshake. See it there? John John’s forearm flexed, ready to take all of Kelly’s hand but only catching the fingers. Kelly’s hand looks bigger than John John’s from this angle so the lady’s handshake was certainly accidental. Was Kelly too focused on holding his ironic gaze and came up short? Very likely and once caught in a lady’s handshake it is impossible to readjust especially if a camera is there clicking.
Both of them did well not to break character. The assured awkwardness they were both feeling is not apparent on either face and this, above all, above every very deep Pipeline tube and Backdoor tube they have threaded, proves to me they each have ice-water running through their veins. For Kelly not to be shyly looking away, caught in a lady’s handshake, is something. John John playing through with the lady’s handshake is equally something.
And both of them will be surfing at Pipeline in just over one short month. Both of them playing spoiler, I’d imagine. The World Surf League writes:
Having been sidelined by injuries for the majority of the season, John John Florence, Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli will all make their Championship Tour returns at the last event of the year – the Billabong Pipe Masters, set to kick off December 8th and run through the 20th.
I don’t know why Caio Ibelli wasn’t also pictured but that is a question for a later time. I also don’t understand how they get into the event. Do they steal one of the two Hawaiian wildcard slots? Do they steal them both? John John was born in Hawaii and Kelly owns an 8 million dollar home there.
Who is most afraid at this sudden turn?
A) Gabriel Medina
B) Filipe Toledo
C) Julian Wilson
D) Kanoa Igarashi (because he has to go surf Pipeline)