Sublime rail work in an unruly ocean gifts the Hawaiian back-to-back event wins.
It looked like Kolohe Andino had added an inch-or-two to his board for the Margaret River Pro final, and it looked solid underfoot, dealing with the chatter and the wind chops nicely. He was hungry from the start, determined to come out swinging against John John and take his elusive first tour win.
Brother’s first few waves were mid-range, but then he banked a 7.17 for a tight wave with multiple moves, connecting the dots all the way through to the inside and putting him into the lead. Florence came back strong however, unveiling his trademark carve. He sliced two turns with speed, power and flow to get the best wave of the heat so far. But it got better, he picked up another bigger wave and went to town, executing two incredible carves. The second one a powerful full-rail down-carve with his trademark wrap as an exclamation, as well as a neat finish over the inside ledge for a deserved nine point ride. This effectively shut the door on Brother.
With 25-minutes to go in the final, Kolohe needed a 9.5 which is a massive ask, but definitely within his reaches as a top echelon Championship Tour surfer. There is no one on tour who can do the fully engaged forehand wrap Like Florence, so Kolohe’s only option was to find a point of difference.
In his fight for first place Brother did manage to bring the required score down to 8.75, and it was clear that he was going to go down fighting.
Under priority and with three minutes to go, a set rolled through. They were both out of position for it, getting rolled by two waves. Florence picked up the last little lump in the set, went absolutely crazy on it, and turned it into a 9.5. The best wave of the heat, and an absolutely dominant 18.5 heat total.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so stoked,” said Florence on the siren. “It was a hard event to surf, with so many different conditions and all this wind.”
Either way, he’s sitting with a 5,700-point lead on the Jeep Leaderboard, with Kolohe up to number 2, Italo holding steady at 3rd, Kanoa down to 4th and Jordy up to 5th. It’s already turning into a fight for second place.
The women’s final was a battle of the heel versus the toe, with goofy-footer Tatiana Weston-Web up against the much-vaunted, and natural-footed, Lakey Peterson. Taking the conditions into consideration it actually looked like it might be a goofy-footed advantage, with Weston-Webb’s backhand hooks looking to be less wind-affected and more suitable to the complicated end sections. Some big sets rolled through, and the girls were charging, but it was all about Peterson and her power approach. The girls were banking mid-scores throughout, and with seconds ticking out, Weston-Webb needed a 6.94 score and she just couldn't find it, losing out to Peterson.
“Mike always said I’d win out here one day,” said a stoked Peterson of her coach Mike Parsons. “I always thought of this place as my Achilles’ Heel and the win didn't come easy, but I’m so stoked.”
The win puts Lakey back into contention. “It’s so nice to get a win here, and I got a third at Bells,” said Peterson. “I feel like I’m back in now.”
1. John John Florence
2. Kolohe Andino
3. Julian Wilson / Caio Ibelli
1. Lakey Peterson
2. Tatiana Weston-Webb
3. Carissa Moore / Sally Fitzgibbons