The Hawaiian takes the silverware at the Margaret River Pro
I could have told you a week ago John John would win this event. The Hawaiian put daylight between his competitors raining haymakers on the entire field with his searing carves and innate ability to always find the tube.
On his road to the final he’d post four of the highest heat totals—all in the 19+ range. He combo’d his opponents and thrown away eight point rides. It was the most dominant competitive performance in an event in the history of the sport.
Florence looks equally at home at wild, windy Mainbreak as he does on an airbrushed canvas. It’s no secret that WA is a second home for the Hawaiian. He spent a good chunk of 2015 filming ‘View For A Blue Moon’ and the similarities to Hawaii are evident by the face melting highlights that are dropped into our daily Instagram feed.
After a barnstorming run to the final that left casualties like Michel Bourez and Jack Freestone scratching their head, Florence matched up against America’s Great White Hope, one Kolohe Andino.
The Californian had been in fine form. He’d edged out an impressive Toledo in the semis and brushed the big South African, Jordy Smith, in the quarters. Wearing his trademark Americana white wetsuit with flash of red stripes, Kolohe was efficient both in approach and with his nauseatingly dull post heat interviews. If we’re honest he had the slimmest of chances against two Johns.
After a ten minute lull Florence savaged his first wave. The committed first turn set up for one of the most impressive top-turn-down-carve deliveries we’ve seen. The second turn sizzled some more as his layback carve lacerated the lip opening a fire hose on everyone bobbing in the channel. It was a no brainer when it came in a hot 9.63.
Kolohe’s answer was solid. He nailed a decent jam in the pocket, carved through to the inside and capped it off with a quick snap. It was nice surfing but paled in comparison to anything Florence-esqe and was justly rewarded a measly 5.83.
But when Hawaiian’s second wave completely combo’d the Californian you knew from here on would be a victory lap. Kolohe wasn’t doing anything wrong—Florence was just doing as he had all event—stamping his authority all over a heat.
With nothing to lose and 14-minutes to go Kolohe posted a 6.57 and tried to claw his way back but it simply wasn’t his day. Florence locked in a 9.40 as his back up with a couple more searing layback, extending and burying his whole rail like only he can.
It must be demoralising for Kolohe. A full gut punch. He didn’t get close to Florence, got combo’d in the final and only looked threatening with his last minute air reverse.
“I’m so stoked right now,” said Florence to Strider after the win. “I love surfing this wave just going so fast and doing big turns.”
Being back on top of the Jeep Leader Board Florence heads into Bells with a message to the rest of the top 34—he ain’t having no world title hangover. He just employed a coach, his boards look wired and he’s added a few more gears to his game.
And who is really going to stop the Hawaiian? Medina—maybe if he can tap into his competitive mojo but Australia has been an unhappy hunting ground for the Brazilian.
Meanwhile, Jordy’s wave selection continues to let him down and Julian cracked way too early if he wants to be the next world champ.
Margies showed us that the new guard are here. Aside from Adriano de Souza, no one in the top 10 is under 30. Kelly, Mick, Joel, Bede and Kerr keep getting pushed further and further away and between the rookies, the should be world champs and Florence it looks like the new world order is here to stay.