“When there’s surf, you surf,” the venerable Gerry Lopez said in the morning when things looked unsure of how far into the day the event would run. This was supposed to be a dying swell, and there’s supposed to be swell coming over the weekend and next week. But boy did Gerry’s adage prove to be gold—Pipe and Backdoor spat out perfection all day, and as the day wore on it continued to get even better, forcing contest organizers to actually wrap it up today. “The Pipeline came through like a champ for us in this event,” Gerry ended the day saying.
And a person who reaped the rewards more than any was John Florence. The eighteen-year-old won every one of his five heats over the past two days at Pipeline. His lowest heat score of those five was his first, an 11.63—his highest an 18.66 in round 4 when he had the field comboed within four minutes. The kid (err, young man) won the Da Hui Backdoor Shootout just three weeks to the day. “It’s super fun, pretty perfect. There’s lots of waves today, but you’ve gotta be a bit picky with them,” John said after one of those heat victories. “I’m just psyched on getting to surf Pipe with just four guys out. It’s satisfaction to get two out here in a row. I love doing it and putting it all together and just having fun.”
And get his second Pipeline win John did. If there’s any doubt in your mind whether or not John Florence will one day (probably sooner than later) be an official Pipe Master, then shame on you. Even Jamie O’Brien’s deep, more-than-vertical drops weren’t enough to take on John today—John’s drops were steeper, deeper, and with a bit more flair as well. It just seemed to all come together at every moment for John.
John’s 9.93 in the final was a complete under the lip take off, fully barreling him while he was in the process of setting his rail. John comboed Wardo and Aamion at one point in the final. It wasn’t even a heat really, it was just John surfing the spot he’s grown up surfing his entire life. And right now he’s the best one out there.—Ryan Brower
1. John John Florence (HAW) – 18.36, $16,000
2. Jamie O’Brien (HAW) – 15.34, $8,000
3. Chris Ward (USA) – 14.46, $6,000
4. Aamion Goodwin (HAW) – 10.6, $5,000
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