The North Shore's first son takes a victory lap!
It was destined from the beginning wasn’t it though? John John Florence coming home to win the World Championship cup the last time it will ever be offered on his North Shore. Wait. I always get confused. Is Pipe still the season finale next season or does the new order take effect and does the season end at Karamas instead? Wait. Is it effect or affect?
I knew John John was feeling it when he slipped into his very first wave of the day during Round 1 Heat 3. Did you see? He actually slipped. Oh of course the score was low, the judges always have pristine Pipe and/or Backdoor in their minds’ eyes and judge accordingly, not wanting to destroy the scale, but his very first wave. Did you see? He literally slipped down the face of the Backdoor wave into the barrel in one simple motion. Sideways then forward in a way I’ve only seen Jamie O’Brien ever do.
It was magnificent.
And I knew John John had this thing by the throat. Oh sure he had better waves in that heat, stand ups, coming out with the spit, even pumping his arms a little bit once in what might have been a claim.
And I could also write about the very fine surfing of Josh Kerr, Jeremy Flores, Julian Wilson (minus interference). I could write about the abject failure of nearest-to-John-John-in-the-title-race Gabriel Medina but why? To what end?
John John won the event that first slip, that first wave, and nobody makes surfing look more fun.
Except Jamie O’Brien.
Billabong Pipe Masters Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.17, Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.33, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 4.67
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.17, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 6.10, Owen Wright (AUS) 3.37
Heat 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.56, Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.57, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 1.50
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.57, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.43, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 3.00
Heat 5: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.83, Benji Brand (HAW) 12.64 Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.43
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 13.50, Dusty Payne (HAW) 6.83, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 5.63
Heat 7: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.83, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.27, Jack Freestone (AUS) 7.04
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.47, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.90, Kolohe Andino (USA) 7.60
Heat 9: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.50, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 2.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.00
Billabong Pipe Masters Remaining Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Watch the whole four hours here!