This time last year, John John Florence was on a quest – to clinch his first world title. Come 12 months later, with that epic odyssey conquered and a new trophy mantled on his wall, John John Florence is a new man. And not surprisingly, looking sharp and unstoppable.
In perfect conditions at Margaret River in Western Australia at stop 2 of the WSL Tour, Florence unleashed some of the biggest heat totals the event has ever seen. And not just one heat either.
Whilst most surfers were struggling to find 6 or 7 point rides, here was Florence dishing out 9 plus scores. The 2016 WSL Champion posted a crushing near-perfect heat total of 19.27 over local favourite, Jacod Wilcox (AUS) in Round 3. To back this up, he dispatched his opponents Michel Bourez (PYF) and Conner Coffin (USA) in Round 4 with a lavish combined total of 19.16.
When probed about the secret to his success on Day 4 of the event, Florence credits much to just being out of his head and loving what he does, both in and out of the jersey.
“That was so much fun out there,” the Hawaiian said. “Just so fun going that fast.”
“It just feels great to let loose and have fun. It’s really similar to the waves back at home in Hawaii, just super raw and powerful. It’s such a big playing field out there just so open ocean.”
“It’s sunny with off-sure winds and it’s like really powerful. Being able to go that fast is like one of my favourite things.”
Admittedly, everyone always knew that this kid had talent, but it seems with his maiden world title out of the way – the world is now being graced with a showering of pure surfing brilliance.
Without hesitation, the 24 year seems to be in firm agreement acknowledging a new found freedom and calm in the jersey after the actualization of his monumental goal in 2016.
“Last year I was still figuring out a lot of my stuff,” Florence insightfully shared.
“I feel like now that I have won the title, I am a lot more relaxed and that felt really obvious to me today.”
“A lot of people are asking me if I feel a lot more pressure [having won a title], but I actually feel a lot more relieved. I am a lot more relieved and calmer and everything is just kinda working out.”
With an added boost to his confidence, an elated Florence now moves onto the quarter finals but remains firmly fixed on his goals.
“I’m happy to get through that heat cause you never know what can happen next round. Just to be in the quarters is a great result already.”
“Super big confidence out of that, but you never know what’s going to happen next heat. I’m just going to keep focusing on my own surfing and try to get through to the next round.”
So just how far can the Hawaiian superstar go? If conditions hold up, my money is with Florence.