Web Staff - For the second straight year, the champ is here.
Haleiwa's John John Florence realized a lifelong dream Monday of being crowned the World Surf League World Champion in his backyard break of Banzai Pipeline at the Billabong Pipe Masters in memory of Andy Irons.
The 25-year-old Kahuku graduate entered the day in a two-man race for the world title against Brazil's Gabriel Medina, but Florence controlled his own destiny and took care of business with a legendary performance.
He was clutch at the end of the clock on multiple occasions, earning him a spot into the semifinals. When Medina was ousted in the quarterfinals, that clinched the crown for Florence, who becomes the first Hawaii-born surfer to win back-to-back world titles since the late Andy Irons went for three straight from 2002-2004.
"I think that I learned a lot about myself this year, competing and all the pressure and stuff, and especially coming off of last year's win. I had some ups and downs, but mostly I had a lot of fun," Florence said. "I think that's what I learned last year, like I want to have a lot of fun and enjoy every moment of it. It looked like it was going to come down in the last few heats, and I just kept my focus heat by heat, and just getting to surf my home break and standing up here, winning the world title. This whole event has been amazing."
Ultimately Florence would fall to Jeremy Flores in the Pipe Masters final. The French surfer scored an 8.33 on the final wave of the season to take a 16.23 to 16.16 victory for his second Pipe Masters title of his career.
Griffin Colapinto of California was awarded the Triple Crown of Surfing champion, which goes to the highest-scoring surfer in the three season-ending Hawaii events combined (the Hawaiian Pro, the Vans World Cup and the Pipe Masters).
Remarkably, Colapinto is the first surfer from California to win the Triple Crown, which is in its 35th year.