Stab Magazine | John John Florence Is The 2016 World Champion (And Rip Curl Pro Champ!)

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John John Florence Is The 2016 World Champion (And Rip Curl Pro Champ!)

Conner Coffin Scores front row seat to World Champ celebration party.

news // Oct 26, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Death, Taxes, and John John Florence as World Champ. Can you believe the 24-year-old Hawaiian Prince has finally, inevitably, secured his first (though surely not last) World Title in the wonderful sport of surf? 

While numerous scenarios were possible, the most simple and important one today was this: John John had to make the final, and finish one place ahead of Jordy Smith, to win the world title. 

Without hitting full throttle, John John eliminated Kolohe Andino from the semifinals, leaving Brother in need of a 9.37 with 45 seconds remaining. And that’s how it stayed. By doing this, he also officially removed the potential of Gabriel Medina gripping a world title for a second time. And, created a situation whereby Jordy Smith would have to win the contest to send the Title showdown to Pipe. “(The world title pressure) is definitely there, but after all this time of thinking about it and people talking about it, it’s kinda worn away,” said John afterwards. “I’m just here to make heats.”

Jordy Smith, for whom the silverware was not out of reach when he paddled out against Conner Coffin, had enjoyed the burlier conditions yesterday, having found a 10 for a wild, dark tub. But today was smaller, and Jordy, while staying busy, fell to Conner’s wave selection and late surge, which included a flat 9 for a deep barrel.

And just like that, John John Florence officially became the very best at the world’s most difficult sport.

“I honestly can’t even believe it right now, it hasn’t really sunk in,” he beamed. “I have so many people to thank for this. It’s been a long year, but it’s been one of the best years of my life. I’ve learnt a lot.

“I think it’s really gotta sink in… I was really expecting it to go to Hawaii. I was just gonna surf heats, and I’m still kinda stuck in that mode.

“Really, my whole life and everything I’ve done has gone to this.”

JJF Title

Following a brief interview and champagne shower, John went down to meet Conner in the water for the final. Conner, who was truly formidable in this event and deserved every single second of presence in the final, was little more than an extra in the Oscar-Worthy monologue scene that was John John winning the Rip Curl Pro as a first-time World Champ.

From the start, John wanted to jump. First (scoring) wave, a huge – but unmade – oop attempt. Second wave, a pivoted air reverse. Third wave, a lofted – and this time stomped – oop. Fourth wave, he flipped, but didn’t land.

At this point, Conner put himself back in the mix with a deep, deep barrel to hack for 8.60.

But then, John returned with another (even bigger) alley oop into foam hit for a 9.50. Conner never recovered, fittingly left needing an 8.08 (the Hawaiian area code is 808).

And John John? Well…

“I don’t think I’m the best surfer in the world. Everyone surfs a little differently.”


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