Next: Is John John Florence the next Shaun White?

Updated: June 2, 2009, 4:26 PM ET
ESPN RISE Magazine

John John Florence, a 16-year-old home-schooled junior out of Haleiwa, Hawaii, emulates surfing legends like nine-time world champ Kelly Slater.

[+] EnlargeJohn John Florence
PabloAt age 13, John John Florence became the youngest competitor on the Van's Triple Crown of Surfing.

But Florence is best compared to Shaun White, more for what he represents than what sport he plays. White has revolutionized action sports with his refusal to be typecast as a snowboarder. Sure, the Carlsbad Seaside Academy (Carlsbad, Calif.) graduate has won nine X Games gold medals in snowboarding (four in superpipe and five in slopestyle) and an Olympic gold medal in the halfpipe. But once the snow melts, White trades in his snowboard for a skateboard. And the Flying Tomato doesn't leave his winning ways on the mountain -- he took gold in skate vert at the 2007 X Games.

Meanwhile, ever since earning a wild card to become the youngest competitor in the world's premier big-wave series, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, at age 13, Florence has been considered the future of surfing. Like White, however, he hasn't stopped pursuing other interests.

Florence finished 16th at the 2009 Ultimate Boarder Championships, an event that pits the world's most versatile action athletes against each other in surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding.

"That's the future," Florence says. "We're kind of doing everything now."

Florence took second in surfing and 13th in skateboarding, but a 45th-place showing on the slopes cost him a shot at a top-five finish in a field full of seasoned pros.

[+] EnlargeShaun White
Eric Lars Bakke/Shazamm/ESPN ImagesShaun White has an Olympic gold medal to go with his nine X Games golds.

What more could you expect from a Hawaii native who has to fly across three time zones to Cali just to get a peek at snow?

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