We didn’t think it was going to be this bad. We didn’t think we were going to have to contemplate another WCT year without John John. We mostly thought that he would bounce back, slay J-Bay, own Teahupoo and have the third title more or less sealed before he had to dip a toe in the chlorine in Lemoore.

Alas it is not be as John just made the announcement below on an Instagram post that featured some shiny moments from 2019 thus far.

“This has been a really fun year in competition and outside of the jersey. Unfortunately, in Brazil I ruptured my ACL. I'll be pulling out of J-Bay and likely the rest of the CT season. I'm opting for surgery so I can be 100% next year. I'm excited for this new adventure and everything I will learn along the way. Thanks for all of the support!”

The torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) was the result of an awkward, fly-away kick-out during his round of sixteen heat at the recent, Oi Rio Pro. Tragically it will be the second consecutive year in which John John has been forced to withdraw from competition due to injury. John John’s comment hints at a possible return before the year’s out but it seems unlikely and he will almost certainly be ruled out of the world title race.

Of course that opens a huge door for the other immediate contenders, including Kolohe Andino (ranked 2), Filipe Toledo (3), Jordy Smith (4), Kanoa Igarashi (5) and Italo Ferreira (6) who are all chasing a maiden world title. Of course you can’t write off that other guy at number seven, Kelly Slater. No one in front of him has ever won the crown before and you can bet the king won’t be holding anyone’s hand to overcome that particular psychological hurdle.

Expect Kelly to prey on every little insecurity the world title virgins have.  Somewhere right now he is staring at the WCT rankings and doing calculations of scenarios whilst simultaneously plotting psyche out tactics for J-Bay. “Hey Italo, did you see a fin? I thought I saw something. Maybe it was nothing. ”

Will it be a hollow world title victory without John John in the game? Some may say that, but all those in the hunt will take a crown anyone they can get it.

And to be honest while it’s been riveting to watch John John dominate this year (and we offer him our sincere commiserations) there is no doubt the world title race just got a whole lot more interesting.