It's true! The barely 24-year-old John John Florence swipes crown! And contest!
Do dreams come true? Well, yes, sometimes they do. In front of some fisherman and peasants on a Portuguese beach, with mom Alex in Hawaii,daddy who knows where, the barely twenty-four-year-old John John Florence won the WSL world title with an event to spare.
It’s long way from the North Shore, this Portuguese fishing city, Peniche, the morning sun soaking the beach in a flat, subtly modulated red light. But, there, John John, swiping off the aggression and urgency of his semi-final opponent, Kolohe Andino, with stately measure.
In another semi-final, Conner Coffin used tube skills and what the commentator Ross Williams beautifully described as a “Gene Hackman“ to slay the almost-thirty-year-old South African, Jordy Smith, the only hurdle between John John and the title.
Oh, there was quite the back and forthing. Until, with five minutes left, Conner swooped on a six-footer, stood through its length, came out with arms behind back, and going into a second closeout tube, threw a shaka. Unanimous nines from the five judges.
On the beach, John John’s shaper Jon Pyzel whooped at Conner’s tubes, at Conner’s Gene’s.
“Conner is the best surfer in the world!” hooted John John.
There is something of a physical ecstasy in John John Florence winning a world title.
Did you feel the same when Adriano De Souza won the title last year?
John John Florence, best surfer in the world. World champion.
It’s got a nice ring, don’t it.
And the final? John whipped airs and oops to win in the most dazzling manner you can imagine.
The soul, some Arabs believe, can only travel at the pace of trotting camel.
They’ve never seen John John Florence surf.
FLORENCE 2016 WSL CT RESULTS
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 5th
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 13th
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: 13th
Oi Rio Pro: WINNER
Fiji Pro: 5th
J-Bay Open: 2nd
Billabong Pro Tahiti: 2nd
Hurley Pro at Trestles: 13th
Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal: WINNER
Billabong Pipe Masters: TBD
Is the newly solvent clothing giant on the verge of pulling out of the famous big-wave event?
Do you remember the rumor, just two months ago, that Red Bull was flying back and forth to Oahu to court the famous Aikau family? That it was pushing to win the broadcast rights for the event from the WSL?
Red Bull didn’t want naming rights, necessarily, although cans of the company’s popular stimulant soda would, naturally, be suddenly apparent in broadcasts, but wanted to turn The Eddie into “a proper show.” Like this year’s Cape Fear event.
As to that rumour, it appears that after meeting the Aikau family Red Bull decided to quit chasing the broadcast rights.
Now, the coconut wireless is “humming” according to a very good source with the rumor that Quiksilver could not reach an agreement with the Aikau family to hold the annual namesake event. A big merchandise deadline was supposedly missed (t-shirt production from China) as well as subsequent extensions.
Has Quiksilver, perhaps wisely, decided that the chances of The Eddie ever being as good as 2016 are so slim any subsequent money poured into it would be wasted?
Would you, if gifted the keys to the clothing giant that was once famously six hundred million dollars in debt, continue to run with The Eddie?
Or would you pour the surplus money into your number one team rider Matt Banting?
Shit…never mind. I went to sleep at two am, after roughing out a good portion of today’s write-up. Had a great joke all ready to go for the intro. It was suuuuuuuper funny. You’d’ve loved it.
Then Chas had to go and steal the gag off my facebook page. Lame.
Chas doesn’t even look like Ellen. He looks like that blonde vulture from The Jungle Book.
Instead of bursting your sides with my hard-won hilarity, let’s get down to brass tacks.
Very surprised to see they’d be running. It did not look good. Logie’s decision to go heat by heat was ballsy. Definitely some “diamonds in the rough” out there, but no one wants to watch hours of closeouts.
But being able to find crazy barrels in shifting hell lineups is a learned skill. Which makes the decision not-stupid. I won’t go so far as to call it the right thing to do, but it’s an educated gamble. Worse comes to worst there’d be some highlight reel wipe outs, the occasional stellar awesomeness.
The first heat, Bourez and Wilson, proved Logie right. Michel opened with a solid backhand tube, but from that point on it was The Julian Wilson Show.
Wilson’s first wave was fucking sick. High line backdoor, million miles an hour. Thought for sure he’d been knocked off his feet by the crazy chandelier, but he threaded the needle and came flying out the end for an 8.5.
He paddled back out, immediately butt dragged his way through a good left. 5.83. Then found another fun tube, but not as good as the first two.
A break in action, Bourez still only had one wave. Then Julian found another unbelievable barrel.
Big and open double tube with a hideous clamping clamshell on the end. I don’t know how the curly headed cutie managed to bulldoze his way through the final section, but he did. And it was amazing.
I thought it was better than his first wave, so did Ross Williams. But the judges disagreed. Still a solid score, 7.83. More than enough to make put Bourez in a 16.34 combo. Wilson had the heat won with eighteen minutes left.
Heading into Flores v Coffin, it looked like shit. Terrible heat. Neither guy could find anything, Conner ended up winning based on the merits of a 2.83 and a 4.43. Too bad for Flores.
One highlight, though. Flores’s 2.67 keeper was really cool. Hard off the bottom, hit the brakes as hard as he could with a slashing snap-stall. Ended up on the foam ball, praying the lip would throw out in front of him. It didn’t, so he didn’t get a good score. But it was a great display of his high tier tube riding ability.
If I were Logie I’d have called it off then and there. Too much of a chance the rest of the day would drag. Then he’d have to hear from all the internet armchair quarterbacks complaining on their tabloid rag surf websites.
But he decided to roll the dice again.
StuKen/Seabass was a slight improvement over the prior heat. Kennedy’s first wave was the best of the match up. Solid forehand barrel, great cutback, snap. Hopped across the flat section, then bonked a reo to seal the deal. Judges gave him a 5.83. I thought they’d go higher, just abased on the fact that there aren’t many, if any, opportunities to mix it up like that.
Stu backed it up with an open right, did two okay turns. Only a 2.6.
Seabass won it on the merits of two frontside tubes. Both were good, deeper than Stu’s first. No turns, but the judges just want barrels.
If I were judging Stu would have won. But rewatching I realize they’re right. Seabass deserved the nod.
Flores is out, but Andino is still on fire. The kid from San Clemente stomped ADS to death.
Late drop deep backside barrel for a 7.83, then an even deeper and longer one roughly fifteen minutes later. Got a 9.67 for the follow-up.
With three minutes left Adriano had one wave under his belt, a worthless french fry 1.0. He caught a good frontside tube, whacked it twice after coming out. But turns aren’t counting for much and his next wave, last chance, was a quick in and out followed by a fall on the reo. Buzzer sounded with ADS in combo.
John John/Julian was fire.
Double Jay started off with a frontside throater. Not super deep, but big and open and grinding. 5.67.
In these conditions it’d be easy to call each guy’s win pure luck, but Double John always manages to show how much skill is involved. Proper positioning, the intuitive ability to know when to go, even when it looks like sure failure. Takes a lifetime to develop. John’s been chasing ugly bombs since birth. He ain’t just guessing.
Julian’s first wave was better than John’s five six seven. Late drop, barely squeaked under the lip. But he couldn’t quite slow down enough. Only a 6.67.
Damn hard to beat Florence in a barrel-off. Next wave he came from so deep, going so fast. Spat out right before it shut down. Nine point three, heat winner for sure.
Julian followed with a long and deep double bubble, nothing floater at the end. But it was only half the size of John John’s monster. 6.9, not enough to take the lead.
Florence was right behind him with a bigger and better. Double hand drag, multiple sections, a weird perpendicular sliding-on-his-fins end section hit that I don’t know if he really made. 7.5 reward.
Heat was over at nineteen minutes left. Only one more wave caught, a 1.0 for Kolohe. Charged his way into a bomb, pull the eject when it lined up.
John John continues his way to a title.
Pupo and Coffin up next. It wasn’t great.
Pupo finished up with a 5.94 total. Coffin got the only two good waves of the heat. 5.83 for a good tube to frontside layback hack. Then 6.83 on the next for another more gooder tuber.
Final heat of the day, Jordy and Seabass, might’ve been the best. Toss up between it and JJF/JW.
Seabass’s first was steep and deep. Came flying out, heaved a double grab boost over a heavy section. Landed on the roof, rode out the rebound. 9.23. Backed it up with a smaller frontside cover, 4.23. Left Jordy combo’ed ten minutes in.
Should’ve been enough, based on the way conditions have playing out. But Jordy spoiled it, delivered a soul crushing come-from-behind.
Good judging this heat. I thought Seabass’s first wave was underscored. Maybe because I’m old enough to remember when a barrel to air combo was mind blowing. Kelly’s back in ’94 had me screaming, but it weren’t shit by comparison.
Anyway, I was wrong. Jordy’s ten was miles beyond. The men behind the scenes did good. Didn’t get over-excited and drop a too-high score early on. Left room for the boys to improve. Jordy came through.
I did not care for the claim. What are we gonna call that one? “I’m a fancy ballerina.”
Ten minutes left and Seabass needed a low eight. Not impossible, but it wasn’t meant to be. Jordy’s ten was the final wave of the day.
Finals day should be exciting. Kolohe and Florence, Coffin and Smith. The first one may be amazing. Then the rookie gets a chance to play spoiler.
I’m two minds about what I want to happen. It’d be rad to see John John win a title, but things are always so much more exciting when it comes down to Pipe.
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.90 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.57
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.33 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.06
Heat 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 7.26 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.17
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.80 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.43
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.34 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.10
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 16.90 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.57
QF 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.66 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 5.94
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.40 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.56
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
SF 2: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
The WSL's Strider Wasilewski had everything. Apparently everything wasn't enough.
Son of a bitch Strider Wasilewski. Son of a goddamn bitch. You’ve got everything. Attack dog tits that make even the most pumped up jail yard convict green with envy. Traveling the world with the five best friends that anyone could ever have (Joe, Ron-Dog, Pottz, Ross and Pete). Your home is an architectural masterpiecenestled in Malibu’s Point Dume. Your company, Shade sunscreen, is seeing triple digit growth.
But apparently “everything” wasn’t enough.
Son of a motherfucking bitch.
You had to go off and steal my girl’s look.
I’ve been modeling myself off Ellen DeGeneres’s style for the better part of my adult life. The blonde hair mussed just so. That natty, WASPy style. Quick mouth. Funky dancing. Shining personality. She was my guiding light. My north star.
But in one quick swoop you knocked me off my perch. I am no longer surfing’s Ellen DeGeneres. That honor belongs to you.
I hope you can sleep tonight.
But if you can’t would you mind me asking a quick question?
Can I maybe be your Portia de Rossi?
Just think of the figure we’d cut on red carpets around the world. Oh sure your five best friends that anyone could ever have would burn with jealousy but they probably already do (your tits are truly phenomenal). We’d be the toast of Malibu!
A secret and nefarious plot to save the environment!
Don’t you love your freedom? The feeling that you can do whatever it is that you want to do each and every morning? Like, maybe you’ll go get a donut and some coffee. Or maybe you’ll drive down to the beach and check the surf. Maybe the waves are small but the sky is warm and you’ll go for a swim. Or maybe you’ll pull your trusty 5’9 Matt Biolos Short Round out and go for a surf.
Maybe you’re a pro and proud member of the World Surf League and maybe you’re in Portugal and are ready to go for your very first major win and you pull out your Matt Biolos Sub Driver and…
STOP RIGHT THERE KOLOHE ANDINO! YOU ARE UNDER ARREST FOR VIOLATING ARTICLE 4 OF THE SANTA MONICA SURFBOARD PURITY LAWS!
Does this far-fetched ridiculousness seem straight out of the terrifying fiction The Man in the High Castle which depicts a world where Nazi Germany won World War II?
Well guess what? It also depicts this world where World Surf League CEO Paul Speaker rules like a pugnacious dictator!
It’s true! Our own (he’s not really our own but a gal can dream) Nick Carroll has just reported on a top-ish secret meeting where the WSL and various shapers kicked around banning toxic surfboards from competition! Let’s read a little!
Early in September, around the time of the Hurley Trestles Pro in San Clemente, California, the WSL management convened a very hush-hush meeting.
Invited was a range of surfboard makers, surfboard materials manufacturers, and green-thinking consultants. The meeting was designed to sound out a notion of quietly radical proportions — so radical nobody’s ever dared bust it out before.
Pro surfing’s owner and governing body may soon begin to regulate the equipment ridden by its elite competitors. In other words: tell ‘em what sort of boards they can ride.
This notion is being driven by a seemingly laudable goal: sustainability. It’s been widely known for decades that the classic PU/PE board is an environmental peril of sorts. Blanks and resins involve toxic chemicals, including known human carcinogens. Exposure to these chemicals and others has taken a small but steady toll on surfboard workers worldwide over the generations.
On top of that, the things are effectively inert, taking centuries to break down in surface landfill. And speaking of breaking — they break. Especially if you’re a pro. The CT’s surfboard disposal count is off the charts.
Not exactly sustainable.
On and on Nick goes, as he is wont to do, cracking the most important/radically fascist plot in surfing’s storied history! You must read in its entirety here…
But let’s do what we do best and quickly opine without full comprehension! Do you think the World Surf League should become a nanny or do you think the surfers should decide for themselves how best to protect/destroy the environment?