Championship Tours are always full of surprises. In what could be the biggest upset since the event started, Brazilian wildcard Yago Dora takes out the reigning WSL Champion and current Oi Rio Pro champ John John Florence in Heat 6 of Round 3.
The two first faced off in Round 1 where Florence barely grabbed the win after Dora posted a near-perfect rotation of 9.27. Florence hung on to the lead and won his heat against Dora and Miguel Pupo with a very slim margin of 0.03.
In Round 2, Dora had to pull a win against Kolohe Andino in order to stay in the competition. And of course, the young surfer delivered, posting a 14.27 versus Andino’s 13.23.
Florence and Dora met again in Round 3, and the 20-year old surfer didn’t want a repeat of what happened in Round 1. The heat started slow but things turned around during the 14-minute mark as Dora took to the air for an excellent 8.33 and 7.17. Florence struggled to find an answer to the local favorite’s score as the time ran out. Dora took the win by a large margin, 15.50 versus Florence’s 10.16.
In an interview, Yago Dora said that he felt nervous during the start of the heat. “I was trying to not feel anything because it is my only CT event this year, but I was feeling nervous because everyone was talking about our heat. After that first wave, the nerves went away and I was pretty excited out there with the two waves back-to-back. I am taking things round by round and hope to continue to do well in the event.”
When asked about the outcome, John John Florence said, “The result is obviously not what I wanted, but I’m not super bummed. The waves were fun, but Yago surfed really well and things didn’t go my way this morning. If anything, it’s motivation to refocus and get prepared for the next event in Fiji.”
Yago Dora is set to face off Gabriel Medina, another WSL Champion, in Round 5 after losing to Mick Fanning in Round 4.
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