Most sports references as of late involve the discussion of two football coaches pitted against each other in a marvelous sibling rivalry known as the Super Bowl. Non-sports fans are pumped about the commercials or the “Beyonce Bowl,” …to sing, or not to sing: that is the question. But for surfing fans, the Super Bowl’s opening act began a day before at the playing field known as Banzai Pipeline. A triple threat, John John Florence won the Volcom Pipe Pro for the third consecutive stretch. He had achieved the hat trick of surfing (for those still fascinated with the hockey debacle).
"It was definitely a special final for me, my third time in a row, I can't even believe it," said Florence.
Florence proved to be a formidable opponent throughout his performance. On February 1st, within just 25 minutes of a surf heat, he was able to tackle four incredible tube rides matching his rank last year in the ASP World Tour. He received a 9.3, 9.53, 9.73, and 9.97 which in turn meant he had achieved a heat total of 19.7 out of 20. It sometimes takes years for athletes to make it to the Super Bowl. But at just 20-years-old, he has made a name for himself among SUPER athletes in surfing. In the quarterfinals, Florence eliminated world class performers: Jamie O'Brien, Reef McIntosh, and Bruce Irons. "That quarter final heat was a scary one…so many of the guys that I really respect and have watched since I was so little. I knew I was going to have to go out there and paddle battle because it's small. But I don't want to paddle battle the guys I've been looking up to since I was little, so I kind of just went out and did what I could to sneak in a couple waves,” noted John John Florence.
When it came to pressure, John John rose to the occasion. Within the first three minutes of the 30-minute final, he positioned himself for two great tube rides. As his competitors hurried to catch up, Florence sat patiently on his board for nearly 15 minutes. Suddenly, a third wave at Backdoor would be the opening he was waiting for.
Could surfing Pipe with no one out be equivalent to a Super Bowl ring?
John John Florence posits Pipe: "Just being there and having no one out, it firing like this with wave after wave after wave.... it's a pretty special feeling. I think this is one of the better days of Pipe all [winter]. It was really hard to come in. Any opportunity to surf out here is just a good thing. If I wasn't in the contest and was sitting at home watching this happen with four guys out, I'd be freaking out."
When asked of what the year holds in store for Josh Kerr, it seems he is in complete agreement with Florence: "The last two events I've gotten to surf Pipe with just a couple of other guys out and I wish we could just keep doing this [laughs]. Getting heats in at Pipe when there's no one else around, not having to free-surf with a hundred guys around you trying to be in position... you can take that experience into the Pipe Masters. That's priceless!"
One could deduct that more than just Florence won at this event. The eight highest placed Hawaii surfers in this event, who are not already on the ASP World Championship Tour, partake in a coveted spot at Pipe Masters at the end of 2013. Jamie O’Brien, Reef McIntosh, Bruce Irons, Olamana Eleogram, Kahea Hart, Kaimana Jaquias, Marcus Hickman, and Joel Centeio are the wildcards. Throughout the competition “Electric Perfect 10” scores were awarded to the likes of Nat Young, Josh Kerr, and Marcus Hickman.
As the ASP World Championship Tour starts in Australia in just a few weeks, John John Florence is in perfect position. He enthusiastically stated: "I just hope it's as good as last year. Last year was the best year of my life."
1st: $20,000 - John John Florence - 16.33 points (8.43, 7.9)
2nd: $10,000 - Chris Ward - 14.8 (7.93, 6.87)
3rd: $6,500 - Josh Kerr - 13.83 (8.33, 5.5)
4th: $5,500 - Olamana Eleogram-13.3 (6.87, 6.43)
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=5th; 4th=7th
H1: John John Florence (HI); Chris Ward (USA); Kolohe Andino (USA); Reef McIntosh (HI)
H2: Josh Kerr (AUS); Olamana Eleogram (HI); Conner Coffin (USA); Dusty Payne (HI)
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=9th; 4th=13th
H1: John John Florence (HI); Reef McIntosh (HI); Bruce Irons (HI); Jamie O'Brien (HI)
H2: Kolohe Andino (USA); Chris Ward (USA); Kahea Hart (HI); Masatoshi Ohno (JPN)
H3: Olamana Eleogram (HI); Dusty Payne (HI); Dale Staples (ZAF); Jesse Mendes (BRA)
H4: Josh Kerr (AUS); Conner Coffin (USA); Alex Gray (USA); Sebastian Zietz (HI)
Round of 32:
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=17th; 4th=25th
H1: Jamie O'Brien (HI); Kahea Hart (HI); Tanner Gudauskas (USA); Eala Stewart (HI)
H2: Bruce Irons (HI); Kolohe Andino (USA); Joel Centeio (HI); Nat Young (USA)
H3: Masatoshi Ohno (JPN); Reef McIntosh (HI); Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA); Pancho Sullivan (HI)
H4: Chris Ward (USA); John John Florence (HI); Cory Arrambide (USA); Perth Standlick (AUS)
H5: Olamana Eleogram (HI); Josh Kerr (AUS); Patrick Gudauskas (USA); Cory Lopez (USA)
H6: Dale Staples (ZAF); Alex Gray (USA); Wiggolly Dantas (BRA); Krystian Kymerson (BRA)
H7: Conner Coffin (USA); Dusty Payne (HI); Kaimana Jaquias (HI); Leandro Bastos (BRA)
H8: Sebastian Zietz (HI); Jesse Mendes (BRA); Marcus Hickman (HI); Ezekiel Lau (HI)
Round of 64:
1st & 2nd advance; 3rd=25th; 4th=49th
H13: Dusty Payne (HI); Marcus Hickman (HI); Stephen Koehne (HI); Mason Ho (HI)
H14: Conner Coffin (USA); Ezekiel Lau (HI); Granger Larsen (HI); Ian Gentil (HI)
H15: Jesse Mendes (BRA); Leandro Bastos (BRA); Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY); Sean Moody (HI)
H16: Sebastian Zietz (HI); Kaimana Jaquias (HI); Balaram Stack (USA); Joshua Moniz (HI)
Todd Chesser Memorial Award- Kahea Hart
Volcom’s “Live Like Sion” fund- check for Sion Milosky’s family
Related site: www.volcompipepro.com/