John Florence Is on His Way Home from West Oz with an Injured Knee - Stab Mag
Photo: WSL/Dunbar

John Florence Is on His Way Home from West Oz with an Injured Knee

What does this mean for the World Title Race? And the Olympics?

Words by Stab

John Florence has injured himself while surfing in Western Australia and is currently traveling home in the middle of the Margaret River Pro (where he is currently slotted in the quarterfinals and is the 2x defending champ).

From John:

I wanted to let everyone know that I’m withdrawing from Margaret River and the rest of the Australian leg. Unfortunately, I hurt my left knee on the end section of a wave during my round of 16 heat two days ago. I was able to surf the rest of my heat just kind of feeling it out, but I knew something was off. It’s not the same knee I dealt with last year so that’s good, but with the Olympics coming up this summer I’m going to focus on healing up and getting strong. Thanks to everyone for the support and to Australia for having us. We’re very appreciative and had a great time

Rumors suggest that John may have torn his ACL—the same injury he suffered at both Keramas and Saquarema—but this time in his left knee. The first time John endured this injury in 2018 (in his right knee), he opted to forgo surgery and returned to competition at the beginning of the following year. John then reinjured his knee five events into the 2019 season, when was on-pace to win the World Title.

At the present moment, John Florence is ranked number three in world and was already slotted in the finals series of Margaret River event. It was widely expected that John would be one of the five male surfers competing in the WSL finals this September.

If a torn ACL is indeed the prognosis, it’s unlikely John will be able to compete for the rest of the season.

This brings us to John’s Olympics allusion. By way of his 7th place finish on the 2019 Championship Tour (despite missing 5.5 events due to his knee injury), John qualified for the US Olympic squad alongside Kolohe Andino, Carissa Moore, and Caroline Marks. The Olympics were meant to run in Tokyo of last year, but the pandemic prohibited it. As a result, the games were re-scheduled for July of 2021.

If John Florence’s knee is not well enough to compete by then, John will forfeit his Olympic position to the next surfer in line — Kelly Slater.

Again, these are all hypotheticals. We’ll wait for the official word from John and his medical team to see how this will play out. Hopefully the knee is fine and John is leaving WA is out of an abundance of caution.

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