Sun, 9 April 2017
Reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) stormed to the top slot in the world surf rankings after winning the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in solid 6-8' surf earlier today.
John John defeated Kolohe Andino (USA) in the Final of the second stop of the WSL Championship Tour after dominating the event with near-perfect scores in almost every heat.
Andino knocked out Jordy Smith in the quarters, relegating the South African to equal fifth. Jordy now sits fourth in the world, tied with Adriano De Souza after sharing the same results with the Brazilian - a 9th and a 5th. In the heat against Andino, Jordy had two excellent 8-point rides, but Andino scored a near-perfect 18.77.
Look out everyone. This win is John John's first victory in Australia, and best ever start to the elite Championship season heading to Bells Beach.
“This is one of my favourite places to come to in the world,” said John John. “There is such an abundance of different and amazing waves. The crowd we get for the event is awesome and it’s just such a special event. Thank you to my mom and family. My mom would take me and my brothers to all of our surfing events when we were kids and was always supportive. I wish she was here to celebrate, but I know they are watching at home. My support crew here has been really great and fun to surf and just hang out with, so thank you to those guys.”
John John charged through Main Break in the final with massive laybacks and powerful rail-carves. Andino fought back with a big air reverse and clean snaps for a 13.60 two-wave score. Despite Andino’s technical maneuvers, John John kept on pace with his previous performances to earn a phenomenal 19.03 combined score to close out the day.
“I was really excited to get out there and just stay focused on my own surfing at this event,” continued John John. “I feel like I learned a ton last year. I have been working closely on my equipment and my boards feel incredible right now. Surfing against Kolohe [Andino] in the Final was really cool. He used to always beat me in the national events when we were kids, so it was nice to get one back on him.”
Andino’s runner-up finish is his best result in Margaret River and will move him up to 3rd place on the Jeep Leaderboard. Andino has yet to solidify an event win on the elite Championship Tour, but will now look to Bells to improve his 2017 World Title campaign.
Semifinal 1 saw John John take down Australian threat Jack Freestone (AUS). This is Freestone’s second year on the CT, and the young charger made his mark at this event with big wins over top seed. In a huge upset, he eliminated Owen Wright (AUS) in the Quarterfinals. Freestone’s 3rd place finish will give him a boost up to 8th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Shark presence in the lineup
Wright looked in great form, but an equipment malfunction during a set wave caused him to fall on his bottom turn. Wright was unable to find the 5.51 required to combat Freestone. Wright came into this event ranked No. 1, but will now move to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard with his 5th place finish.
Filipe Toledo (BRA) fell to Andino in a close Semifinal match-up by only 0.63-points. The two went blow for blow but it was Andino who took the win. The heat was briefly put on a precautionary hold halfway through the heat due to fear of a shark presence in the lineup. Event organizers fully assessed the area before resuming the event.
Toledo, who was absent at last year’s event due to an injury, put on a stunning performance throughout the day to earn 3rd. Toledo will also climb from 25th to 8th place on the Jeep Leaderboard. Toledo previously ousted 2015 WSL Champion and former event winner, Adriano de Souza (BRA), in the all-Brazilian Quarterfinal matchup.
“That was a really strange heat,” Toledo said. “Stopping half way through then resuming, it was hard to stay focussed out there.”
John John also eliminated former event winner Michel Bourez (PYF) in the Quarterfinals.
The next stop is the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia from April 12-24. For more information, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Final Results
1 - John John John John (HAW) 19.03
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.60
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Results
SF 1: John John John John (HAW) 19.27 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.57
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.63 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.00
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results
QF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.50 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 5.50
QF 2: John John John John (HAW) 18.04 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.77
QF 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.83 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.33
QF 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 18.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.86
2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard
1 - John John John John (HAW) 16,500 pts
2 - Owen Wright (AUS) 15,200 pts
3 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 12,000 pts
4 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9,200 pts
4 - Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9,200 pts