John Florence Tests His Knee At The Pool, Three Weeks From Snapper
The Quikky Pro starts in less than a month. Will the 2x Champ be ready?
Since the reign of Tom Curren, no one has dominated surf as silently as John John Florence.
Never one for the spotlight, John Florence would surf exclusively on remote islands with no one but his brothers, a few friends, and three or four filmers on-hand if his Hurley contract allowed it… and if he could rack up World Title points in the process.
Because reserved as he might be, John wants to win. And when you’re the near the top of our 8-billion person planet in any particular discipline, the only real type of winning is in the form of a World Title. Just ask Slater. Or Medina. Wilson, Toledo. But be gentle with the last two.
Now John may be quiet, but his actions speak in ALL CAPS.
View From a Blue Moon ignited warning signals across the surf world’s collective dashboard. The Margie’s performance changed our perception of time and space. But it was his back-to-back Titles that made John the undisputed best surfer in the world.
Then came the knee injury.
Sidelined for more than half of the 2018 season, John forfeited the ability to defend his back-to-back Titles, instead having to focus on his over-stretched ligaments.
After several months out of the water, and having worked with some of the most knowledgable knee doctors in the world, John started surfing again, if ever so gingerly. While it was great to see him back the water, our 2x Champ looked uncharacteristically slow, stiff, and slightly off balance – all to be expected from someone who over-extended surfing’s primary hinge.
While footage from a Rockpile session showed he could still redirect his board at the highest level, John’s smaller wave game seemed to be what really suffered with the injury, thanks to all the micro-movements required to both gain and retain speed.
See below for a comparison between big and small.
John’s “small wave” game was not bad by any means, but it also wasn’t sharp enough to compete with Italo, Gabby, and Filipe at a technical wave like Snapper.
That, paired with radio silence from the JJF camp, left a giant question mark around John’s 2019 season. Would he be ready to compete by Snapper? What about Bells? Surely he wouldn’t miss Keramas and Margies…
Most of these doubts were put to rest with a video John released today, on his personal Instagram, from a “training session” at Slater’s wavepool. Before any further jabbering, we’ll watch.
Is that…? Yes, yes it is! A fully committed, flexible, back-foot-hammering John John Florence. Dare I say, not at all dissimilar to the one we know and love. The same guy who ripped not one but two Titles away from Brazil’s dark-eyed destroyer.
Now, it must be mentioned that the wavepool isn’t a perfect indicator of reality. After all, Slater surfed his way to a third-place finish at the 2018 Surf Ranch Pro, despite a foot injury that sidelined him for most other events throughout the season. That said, up until this point, John’s in-water rehab had taken place strictly in the ocean, which means he’s not scared to combat uncontrollable forces.
On the other hand, we still haven’t seen John try a proper air since the Bali mishap. There are few things scarier than attempting the first few punts on a tender hinge. The risk of re-injury is multiplied in the sky, and the last thing John wants is to undo the last nine months of rehab. But hesitation is the last thing you need in the air, and we all know that if he needed a score and a section was to present itself at Snapper, it would be hard for John to say no.
We’ve reached out to John for comment but have not received anything in response at time of publication, hence all the speculation.
Needless to say, we all hope to see John looking healthy and fit come April 3. The Tour ain’t the same without him.
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