Tuesday, October 25, 2016, Peniche, Portugal: John John Florence clinches the World Surf League’s World Champion Title at MEO Rip Curl Pro 2016, Portugal, making him the fourth Hawaiian men’s World Champion in 40 years. In an era for the sport where performance levels continuously defy limits and the global audience is growing at a rapid pace, Florence has made his mark and fulfilled his destiny.
After beating Kolohe Andino in the first Heat of the Semi Finals, John watched closely as one more world title contender, Jordy Smith battled it out with Conner Coffin in Semi Final Heat 2. In a do or die situation for Jordy Smith, Conner Coffin put pressure on him by securing a 9.0 ride on a crazy barrel with under 6 minutes left in the heat. Jordy tried a desperate attempt in the dying seconds and took an aerial maneuver but was unable to complete the ride.
As the buzzer sounded off, Jordy Smith, the last man standing in the way of Florence’s World Title contention has been eliminated, making John John the first male World Champion to win the title before the season finale event at Pipeline since Kelly Slater in 2011.
“I can’t believe I won the World Title,”says John Florence beaming in an interview with World Surf League. “I think it’s really gotta sink in. I kinda, was expecting it to go to Hawaii… I’m kinda still stuck in that mode.”
When asked about his journey this year, Florence shared: “My whole life has gone towards this, everything I’ve done and just this year especially, learning so much about competitive surfing and just really focusing in on it and having so much help and support and its been…the sport’s been amazing I couldn’t have done it without everyone back at home and everyone here on the road with us, so many people… so much so much support!”
After being awarded the World Championship Title, John John paddled out to win the MEO Rip Curl Pro Title 2016 in the Final heat against Conner Coffin where he put on an a great show with a solid tube ride and a near perfect aerial maneuver.
The World Champion’s historic year kicked off with a win at the Eddie Aikau Invitational at Waimea Bay, proving to be worthy of having his name listed along with the most legendary watermen in history. He had a slow but steady start in the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship tour campaign until he secured a win at the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil. By making the Finals at J-Bay, and Teahupo’o, he was able to earn enough points to grab the Yellow Jersey as world No. 1.
Everyone has been concerned about Florence’s knee injury after Billabong Pro, but he was able to shake it off and brought his A-Game throughout the rest of the World Tour. He was able to secure a Semi Final finish in France bringing him to Portugal with a wide open door of opportunity to chase his World Title dream.
Florence has been rewarded $100,000 in prize money by the WSL and he became the recipient of a brand-new Jeep Wrangler.
Florence, who grew up near the world’s most famous and deadliest surf spot, started paddling out as early as Five years old. He began competing in the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series as a teenager. He won the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing at the age of 19, and now the WSL World Championship at the age of 24.
John as a Grom:
Florence had a very inspiring professional career this far in surfing where he was able to etch his name alongside the list of the world’s greatest surfers of all time.
John’s Road To the Finals: