Since joining the World Surf League (WSL) and competing against the best surfers in the world, Florence has ranked 34th in 2011, 4th in 2012, 10th in 2013, and 3rd in 2014. As of November 4, 2015, Florence was positioned 15th in the world for 2015.
At the age of 13, standing at 4'11" and weighing 85 pounds, Florence became the youngest surfer ever to compete in the Vans TripleCrown of Surfing, which consists of three big-wave surfing contests in Hawaii. He had previously won five amateur awards, the 2003 1st NSSA Nationals Open Mini Grom, the 2005 1st NSSA Nationals Open Boy's, the 2005 NSSA Open Boys and the Explorer Menehune Champion. He did not pass the first round, but he did score higher than Shane Dorian, a professional surfer twenty years Florence's senior. Afterwards, Florence said he was "pretty scared" but that he was "happy with how [he] did".
JJ has won the Volcom Pipe Pro an astonishing 4 times and has been declared the all-time ruler of this contest. http://www.volcompipepro.com/results/
When Florence was still a young teenager, pro surfer Kelly Slater said, "John John's going to know the waves on North Shore like no one we've ever seen before." Florence's signature move is getting deeply barreled at Pipeline.
According to surfer Mitch Crews, who witnessed Florence's performance at the 2014 Billabong Pro Teahupoo, "He makes it look stupidly easily no matter how big or small the wave is. He is the man out there, rules the line up and makes everyone look silly. He is the man, and most of us are not."
Florence won the Vans World Cup of Surfing in 2011 and 2013. He is the youngest contestant to have won this prestigious honor.
In 2013, Florence changed sponsors, joining Hurley International, after surfing for O'Neill since he was six years old. He also enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding anddrawing.
On February 25, 2016 Florence won the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in memory of Eddie Aikau, one of only 9 surfers ever to win.