John John Florence overtook Owen Wright in the world title race after winning the 2017 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro on Sunday, April 9. In a showdown against Kolohe Andino, Florence showed why he is the reigning World Champion and that he does not plan on giving up the title anytime soon.
Five minutes into the final heat, Florence and Andino had an exchange. Florence paddled into a wave with a nice open face where he managed to pull a combination of well-executed maneuvers. Andino followed on the next wave and had a beautiful first turn, but he could not complete his ride with another solid turn. This gave Florence an advantage with a 9.63 for his first wave against Andino’s 5.83.
10 minutes into the heat, Florence once a gain put pressure on Andino by scoring a good backup score of 7.50 for a healthy lead. Andino answered back minutes later with a 6.57 of his own, but it was not enough for him to take the lead. Florence pretty much sealed his win by taking off on another solid 9.40 with about 10 minutes left in the heat from a nice combination of verticals off the open face of a main break wave.
This resulted to Kolohe Andino being in a combination situation needing a 19.04 to win the heat. As time ran out, Andino managed a 7.03 ride from a good air reverse with one minute to go but it was not enough for him to win the final. The buzzer sounded off soon after that and Florence officially took the number one spot in the World Title race.
Watch this replay of the Final Heat between John John Florence and Kolohe Andino:
Just when it would have seemed understandable for the World Champion to slow down his pace a little this year after winning a world title, the Eddie Cup and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing last year, he once again put on a clinic at the Margies. He is definitely not finished with his stellar performance and continued to capitalize on his momentum.
Although John John didn’t win the first CT event at Snapper Rocks weeks ago, he finished with an equal 3rd place rank along with Gabriel Medina, another former world champion. And he continued building on his performance around that momentum and clinched the win at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in an extremely excellent fashion. Looking back into his heat totals since Round three, he has been totaling mostly 19.0 and higher.
Florence scoring 9.37 and 9.90 in Semifinals:
His win has definitely shaken up the rankings in the World Title Race. Here is a quick look at the World Tour rankings post Margaret River:
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