How Jack Johnson Became a Singer, Not a Surfer

Could the Grammy-winning beach icon have been the next Kelly Slater?

Internationally acclaimed musician Jack Johnson dropped his eighth studio album in June 2022. But in a parallel universe, he’s probably a pro-league surfer.

“I never dreamed I was gonna have a musical career,” Johnson shrugs. “It was surfing first, and when the waves were drunk, I played guitar.”

In this short edit, ESPN sits down with the “Banana Pancakes” man to talk surf, songs, and where the two commingle.

Runtime: 10 minutes

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Jilli Cluff

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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