It isn’t easy to imagine Nathan Florence becoming anything but a
professional surfer. He and his two brothers (John John and Ivan) grew
up in an oceanside house on Oahu’s North Shore and were taken out on
their mom’s board before they could walk.
His style is described as spontaneous, bordering on insane. He’s known
for pulling off seemingly impossible drops into waves from which most
surfers, professional or otherwise, would pass or bail. There’s no
better example than his astonishing 2015 ride at Teahupo'o, Tahiti –
often referred to as the greatest paddled wave ever at that location.
The wave won him the award for Best Barrel in Surfer’s annual
poll. The ride also snatched a nomination for Billabong’s Ride of the
He shocked the action sports world again in 2018 with a mind-boggling
deep-barrel ride during historic swells in Nias, Indonesia. The same
year, he won O’Neill’s Wave of the Winter and filmed his first short
film, There and Back Again. Released in 2019 and showcasing
his time in Tahiti, Mexico, Panama, and Nias, the film is generally
seen as a true breakthrough for Florence and surf films in general.
In 2019, he scored his first competitive win at what most observers
view as the most dangerous big wave contest on earth, Red Bull’s Cape
Fear at Shipstern Bluff.
Florence is also known as a voracious reader, claiming to have read
the entire Game of Thrones series in a month.