He has looked rocky from the first event of the season. Now John John Florence has been forced to take a leave of absence after suffering a knee injury in Bali. The champ was freesurfing after being eliminated out of Keramas event and buckled his knee while landing this tweaked out air:

The two-time World Champ has been scrutinised heavily by critics who have questioned his competitive drive this season. He’s currently sitting at equal 21st position on the ratings and not making it to the finals at any event this season. At Bells, it appeared he was out psyched by Zeke Lau who employed some excessive hassling to get under his skin. Whether that incident sapped his confidence one can only speculate.

 

#86Savage 💯 🎥: @coleyamane

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Many have hinted that he John John should re-group from this injury, chase some XXL swells like the one last week at Cloudbreak and get his head straight for next season. However, this morning JJF took to social media to squash any doubt he had lost any competitive drive or wants to walk away from the CT.

“This year has been so much fun regardless of my results. Through some of the tough losses Ive learned more than I have in the past couple years. That’s why I love competing — the chance to learn is always there, win or lose. I love the drive to win you get from a loss. I feel like I’m more driven to win than ever from this year. Unfortunately I hurt my knee during a freesurf here in Bali, and I have to pull out of the next event to get back and heal up as quickly as possible. I was trying bottom turns in the yard last night to see if there is any way for me to possibly surf this event, but nothing about it felt right. Haha! I think it’s best I heal 100% before I get back in the water. When I was a little kid I watched my favorite surfers winning events and trying big airs and big maneuvers and dreamed of doing those things. I will never lose that. I’m excited for everything to come. I hope to come out of this injury smarter and more excited than I have ever been.”

 

This year has been so much fun regardless of my results. Through some of the tough losses Ive learned more than I have in the past couple years. That’s why I love competing — the chance to learn is always there, win or lose. I love the drive to win you get from a loss. I feel like I’m more driven to win than ever from this year. Unfortunately I hurt my knee during a freesurf here in Bali, and I have to pull out of the next event to get back and heal up as quickly as possible. I was trying bottom turns in the yard last night to see if there is any way for me to possibly surf this event, but nothing about it felt right. Haha! I think it’s best I heal 100% before I get back in the water. When I was a little kid I watched my favorite surfers winning events and trying big airs and big maneuvers and dreamed of doing those things. I will never lose that. I’m excited for everything to come. I hope to come out of this injury smarter and more excited than I have ever been.

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John John’s corner man, Ross Williams, has had to wear a brunt of criticism from his star pupil not performing. He too took to social media to explain John John’s injury in more detail.

“John is like any other guy out here, when he has pent up energy from a frustrating loss, he’s going to find a way to decompress. Johns style of decompressing is looking for big sections and sending it. I was holding my breath the minute he paddled out. I knew he was feeling jumpy. At one point I looked at him from the beach and gestured to take it easy! Haha. In my position it’s sketchy watching him surf like that cause I want him to be ready for the next comp, but you can’t tell someone like John to just surf safe. It’s not in his nature........thankfully so.”

The wildcards have certainly been Florence’s kryptonite this season. He was due to face Mikey Wright again at Ulus who will now walk through their round 3 clash and edge closer to a Top 22 finish to quality for the CT next season.

If John John does need more time on the sidelines it’s likely he will need to apply for an injury wildcard to requalify next season. He will be fighting for one of the two available with Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli who broke his foot at Margaret River. It’ll be interesting to see who the Commissioner’s office selects given Kelly did compete at The Founders Cup and has been spotted at Cloudbreak, while both John and Caio suffered injuries this season. Watch this space.

Tracks wishes John John a speedy recovery and hopes to see him at J-Bay.