We asked a smiling John John to run us through his 9.97., Bells skyscraper and whether or not he though it was the biggest alley-oop he’d ever done in competition.   

“I just took off on that wave and all I could think about was an air because I was kind of half way back out and it wasn’t a huge wave. The wind’s kind of blowing in the direction and I was thinking ‘air’ and I went for it and it worked out good.” 

Was it the biggest alley-oop you've done in competition?  

I have no idea. I haven’t seen it yet. I think the one I did back in Bali a couple of years ago was probably bigger, but I gotta see it.

Are you going to jump straight on and watch it now?

“Probably, yeah!” 


In a way it was like watching two different sports.Mick Fanning murdering sections on rail – a vintage symphony of twists, turns and gouges  ­that would have won him almost any heat in Bells history.  

Mick knows that John John Florence is operating in a different realm right now, so he paddled out and comboed him in the first five minutes with a kind of classic “Take That!” machismo.

But as we well know a pair of hard-earned nine plus rides were not sufficient to clip the wings of John John Florence. John’s first front-side rotation took a mid range score into the excellent range­ – game on.

As the hunchback warmed up the shoulders to sound the Bell, John was chasing a 9.3 in booming Bells conditions. It looked like carve city not a Cape Canaveral launch pad.  

What happened next was undoubtedly one of the most divine moments in pro surfing history. As a swollen lip puffed up, John John readied his Pyzel arrow and fired into the foggy skies.

Maximum height, updraft drift and full rotation­ – the ‘Oop had all the ingredients of maneuver that will be remembered for a long time to come.  The context may not be have been as dramatic but it was easily on par with Slater’s famed, Kellycopter rotation in the final against Fanning at Bells in 2012.