John John Florence: ‘I’m Not Anti-Anything. I’m Pro-Hawaii.’
"When John John Florence travels the world for elite surfing competitions, he carries a flag with him, to fly if he wins. It matches the flag on the shoulder of his jersey and on the scoreboard next to his name.
"It is not an American flag. It is a Hawaii flag. That is because, in the World Surf League and in surfing more generally, there is an understanding: You represent Hawaii, or you represent the United States. You do not do both.
"The simplest reason is that Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing and remains the sport’s cultural heart. Hawaii residents — particularly Native Hawaiians, but also those merely born and raised there, like Florence — cling to that heritage because surfing may be the strongest of the fading connections to their pre-colonization history."