Stab Magazine | John John Florence Is Knee Braced Up And Still Carving Better Than 97 Percent Of Pro Surfers

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John John Florence Is Knee Braced Up And Still Carving Better Than 97 Percent Of Pro Surfers

See John cut at Rockpile and tube at the beach park.

news // Feb 16, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In June of 2018, a then-reigning 2x World Champion John Florence hurt his knee while surfing in Bali. 

The prognosis wasn’t especially good, with doctors saying John could be out of the water for up to six months. This meant that a third World Championship was out of the question in 2018. 

But John stayed positive and he stayed busy

Splitting his time between sailing (his team finished fourth in Sydney to Hobart), paddling (he finished second in Maui to Molokai), and presumably enjoying a bit of downtime after seven full years on tour (six full years plus half of 2011 and half of 2018), John gave his knee the ability to heal without risk of re-injury.

Then came the Pipe Masters – the last event of the 2018 season and one which saw John in heat draw.

Unfortunately for surf fans, John pulled out of Pipe at the last moment, telling his Instagram followers: “Feeling really good to get back in the water the last couple weeks.  I think I’m close to 100%, but I’m not there yet.  I noticed this week that I still don’t have full trust in my movements, which has always been my test for returning to competition. The Pipe Masters is my favorite contest on tour so it’s a really difficult decision, but I am going to withdraw from the event. Wishing everyone luck out there!! It has been insane watching everyone send it during this last swell!!”

Then, in a moment that shocked many, John bailed on Hawaii during the Pipe Masters contest window to surf a mediocre swell at Snapper Rocks in Australia. He was in decent, but certainly not World-Title-threatening form.

A little tender on that back leg, no?

This was the last we had seen of John surfing since his injury, and despite rumors of secretive performances around his North Shore compound, we were left to wonder if John would ever come back to his former, wave-demolishing self. 

That was until this week. 

In the past three days, John has posted two surf-heavy clips to his IG, which is some sort of record for the (social) media-averse surf star. Shall we admire?

First John released a sandbar session that yielded reasonable results – no crazy, below-sea-level pits put positive signs nonetheless.  

Next – and this is what really excited us – John put on a nostalgic display at Rockpile right, a wave that has become synonymous with his patented heelside carve. 

Roughly a week ago, before seeing any of these clips, we asked Nate Florence what was up with his brother, and why we hadn’t caught a glimpse of him in any of January’s exceptional Pipe sessions. 

Not healed yet!” was Nate’s short and sweet reply, leaving much room for speculation.

While we can’t be sure of his knee’s official status, these recent clips point toward John’s 2019 competitive return, hopefully in time for the April event at Snapper. 

Though that knee brace looks menacing, to say the least!


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