This could be a turning point
With all due respect to John Florence, his injury withdrawal from the Oi Rio Pro might be just what this season needed to spice things up.
The blonde prince was doing it a little too easy in 2019—dominant but not devastating, brilliant, but reservedly so. Everything seemed to be pointing to him cruising to a third world title, which, great as that may have been for his legacy, was making for a pretty boring year from a spectator’s perspective.
The collective surf world might love John, but I think I speak for us all when I say we love a Pipe showdown more.
Ironically, it took John John taking things above 85% for the year to get interesting. A couple of lofty backflip attempts later and the season suddenly took on new meaning. That old knee injury is back and with it comes the chance for a race to take shape.
Who knows how long John will be out for. Hopefully not long. Hopefully he’ll be back in time for Jeffreys. But hopefully too this little interruption will be enough to fire the others up to really take it to him.
It was nice to see Filipe back at his captivating best. The kid has looked uncharacteristically shaky since last year’s world title went grasping. Now, though, with a crowd-pleasing performance behind him and his pet event coming up, he could once again find the confidence to challenge.
Medina too, for all the fuss everyone’s making about his shitty start, isn’t in that much worse a place than he was this time last year, and we saw how that ended.
Jordy and Kolohe are as well-placed as they’ve ever been. It’s questionable if either of them have what it takes to win a title, but they’re certainly capable of bringing out the best in others.
Kanoa actually seems brash enough and savvy enough to believe he can win, no matter what the rest of us think.
Hell, even Italo could find some consistency.
Then there’s Slater, the ultimate dark horse/dark force. Who else knows how to capitilise on someone else’s misfortune as well the wily old wizard? Few, if any. He’s a long shot, sure, but he’s also 47 and currently sitting at seventh, so nothing is out of the question.
Brazil might’ve delivered the worst waves of the season so far, but it also delivered the most interesting outcome.
Best wishes to John in his recovery.
Let’s hope things only get more interesting from here.