Stab Magazine | John John Florence Can Win His First World Title In Portugal

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John John Florence Can Win His First World Title In Portugal

Gabriel Medina loses to an in form Jeremy Flores. 

news // Oct 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If John John makes it to the final, he’ll win seal the title in Portugal (as long as Jordy Smith doesn’t win the event).

First off, hey it’s not closed out garbage. It was a big decision to switch locations. These days it’s not just like you pick up a gazebo and head around the corner with an air horn. Nah, you have to mobilise the juggernaut, pack up the heavy stuff, take along a few mobile homes, put the judges on a truck, hope the satellites will embrace your webcast feed of one of the most important events of the year.

One of the surfers pushing for the change had been Ace Buchan. But for Ace, it came a little too late.

In a bittersweet moment, the Championship Tour Surfer’s Representative got what he asked for. Up against Matt Banting first thing in the morning, Ace fell on his second scoring wave and succumbed to a hungry Matty Banting in what was a very close heat.
Ace couldn’t hide his frustration. “It’s been pumping for three days and we’ve been sitting at Supertubos watching close-outs,” said Ace post heat. “It’s meant to be the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves, and this is meant to be a mobile event, and to be frank this move has come two days too late.”

But enough of round two. The excitement all lay in the third round. Once again there were careers on the line and there were world title ramifications at every turn. One heat that didn’t have any world title consequences at all was the heat between the veteran Joel Parkinson and the fired-up Brazilian goofy-footer Wiggolly Dantas.

In smallish, hollow and tricky left-hand zippers it looked like it was going to favour the Brazilian. Then Parko fell into a drainer and sat in the tube for the entire length of the wave, for a heat-winning 9.33.

All eyes were on John John in his round three heat against wildcard Frederico Morais. On his first wave he swung off the bottom and carved varying turns off the top. There was nothing crazy, no aerial manoeuvres; just a series of solid cracks with a clean finish. He didn’t over think it or rush it and the result banked an 8.5 leaving Fred was on the ropes.

While off priority, John John picked up a great little inside wall and went to town again on his backhand, with four solid hits, and an easy tail free reverse for the finish which pushed Fred into the corner. John moves onto round four.

While Gabriel Medina paddled out against Jeremy Flores, John John got chatting.

“I can’t really freak out on what these guys, on what Gabriel is doing,” said John John amidst the tumultuous roaring emulating from the Gabby heat. “I’m just going to focus heat-by-heat, and rest up for tomorrow.”

Jeremy Flores was on fire against Gabby Medina. He looked in form while Medina was overthinking, over-surfing and had the rare trouble of staying on his board. He looked nervous while Jeremy seemed desperate, hungry. Gabs had to make the quarters to send the world title to Pipe.

“Jeremy looks the best I’ve seen him surf all year,” said Kelly Slater while watching the heat. “This is a pride heat for Jeremy. He just wants to show that he can throw it around with the big guys.”

Jeremy had nothing to lose as he has already qualified via the QS, and he took the win, leaving the title open to John John in Portugal.

“Nothing has changed,“ he said after the heat. “I just found my rhythm. I was so excited out there. On the waves I was saying to myself – breathe, bottom turn, surf.”

The final heat of the day was power vs power, goofy vs natural. As the tide raced in, the barrel stopped and the waves became high-performance walls. 

Jordy’s second scoring wave was a fucking belter. Seven man-turns all the way through to the inside with style, power and variation saw him score a 9.7 and leap into the lead, leaving Kai combo’d. 

With this win the world title is a reality for Jordy, and his performance level must surely make John John’s title sense start tingle. 

“All you need is a shot, right?” said Jordy of his heat result and the world title ramifications. “Really happy with my performance in my last heat.”

Jordy’s world title run now officially a thing.

The World Title Scenerio according to the WSL
As for World Title race scenarios here in Portugal, if John John wins, he wins the World Title. If he finishes second, but not to Jordy Smith, he wins the World Title. If John loses in Round Five, for 9th place, Jordy will need to finish at least 3rd to still be in Title race at Pipe. Kolohe Andino needs to win the event to stay in the Title race.

Round two results:
Heat 6: Matt Banting 12.00 def. Adrian Buchan 11.34
Heat 7: Sebastian Zietz 11.64 def. Alejo Muniz 9.26
Heat 8: Michel Bourez 15.16 def. Jack Freestone 13.27
Heat 9: Caio Ibelli 14.93 def. Davey Cathels 11.20
Heat 10: Stuart Kennedy 12.33 def. Dusty Payne 6.40
Heat 11: Conner Coffin 14.67 def. Nat Young 13.66
Heat 12: Kanoa Igarashi 11.93 def. Keanu Asing 10.83

Round three results:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino 12.43 def. Matt Banting 12.04
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson 16.10 def. Wiggolly Dantas 15.00
Heat 3: Julian Wilson 14.97 def. Jadson Andre 14.90
Heat 4: Adriano De Souza 13.86 def. Kanoa Igarashi 10.03
Heat 5: Michel Bourez 17.23 def. Caio Ibelli 12.37
Heat 6: John John Florence 16.27 def. Frederico Morais 13.30
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores 15.77 def. Gabriel Medina 14.17
Heat 8: Sebastian Zietz 12.07 def. Josh Kerr 10.76
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo 15.43 def. Kelly Slater 14.26
Heat 10: Conner Coffin 13.60 def. Filipe Toledo 12.97
Heat 11: Stuart Kennedy 11.63 def. Italo Ferreira 11.33
Heat 12: Jordy Smith 17.03 def. Kai Otton 8.73

Round four match-ups:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino, Joel Parkinson, Julian Wilson
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza, Michel Bourez, John John Florence
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores, Sebastian Zietz, Miguel Pupo
Heat 4: Conner Coffin, Stuart Kennedy, Jordy Smith


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