John John Florence falls out of the WSL lead. Who is to blame?
Didn’t just last year John John Florence seem absolutely unbeatable? He had just won his first world title, earlier than many had predicted, by dominating all comers in any condition. He was master of the ledgy left, master of the piddly beach break, master of the full-bodied right, master of the air, master of the barrel, master of the open face, master of high intensity brawls and master of low intensity sleepers.
John John won his first world title and certainly a second would follow. Who could possibly stand in his way? Gabriel Medina?
More ha ha ha has than exists in every single Silicon Valley episode to date! (Do you watch? You simply must!)
And then John John went and hired Ross Williams away from the World Surf League’s booth to be his coach. A smart move. Ross was always one of the best, delivering heat analysis on the fly that made 3/4 sense. He would definitely guide John John through the perils of a sophomore slump. He would provide just enough oomph and, like, ummm strategic advice.
And the year started fabulously. A 3rd at Snapper and a 1st at Mags and a 3rd at Bells. Oh the year was going to be a laugher and John John was going to have the title wrapped before we even got to re-fall in love with Rosie.
But then a 13th in Rio and a 13th in Fiji and a 5th at J-Bay waves custom made for John John’s turns and airs. Suddenly the yellow jersey was gone. But no problem right? Tahiti was next.
A wave built for his bulbous rear!
A wave invented for his thicker ankles!
Still. Pressure. He needed strategy in case the forecast was not 100% stellar. He needed his coach to be studied up, in a boat, throwing hand signs for where to sit, when to paddle, how to impress the judges.
But Ross Williams was not in a Teahupoo boat. He was staying instead at a luxury resort in the Maldives and surfing a Rob Machado shaped single fin, himself, against Shane Dorian, CJ Hobgood, Maya Gabeira, Rob Machado and Ismail Miglal in the most decadent competition on the planet.
The Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.
This is the first time I have ever had Rob shape me boards, he shaped me two twin fins and a single fin. I surf a bit on twin fins but I haven’t surfed a lot of single fins. I learned on a Ken Bradshaw single when I was 8 and haven’t really had one since, I’ve only mucked around on them when hanging at Jack’s (Jack Johnson) house on the North Shore. I’ve surfed the single fin a few times now and it feels really good, it turns well and feels really smooth. I think it’s a great little board.
While John John got another 5th in Tahiti and lost the yellow jersey to Jordy “double ha” Smith.
Ross didn’t win either.
And do you think Ross William’s stock is higher or lower right now than Steve Bannon’s?