The World Surf League’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach rung on Monday and it was headlined by an ‘Aloha State Stunner’ as Honolulu’s Ezekiel Lau eliminated reigning two time world champion John John Florence in the third round.
Lau made the first move in the matchup earning a 7.00 on his first wave and a 6.07 on his second, putting up two scores before Florence caught his first wave en route to Lau’s 13.07-9.76 victory which earns the Kamehameha graduate a spot into the fourth round as the last remaining Hawaii surfer in the competition.
“I let him feel the pressure a little bit,” Lau told the WSL following the victory. “(John’s) a Champ so you can’t give him any room. I know what he is capable of when he’s comfortable and feeling good, which is why my strategy was what it was.”
Florence’s Round-3 loss comes on the heels of a second round defeat at the Quik Pro Gold Coast last month, which was his first 25th place finish in 25 events.
JJF will now prepare for the Margaret River Pro, which kicks off April 11th as his quest to join Andy Irons as the only Hawaii surfers to win three straight world titles continues.
Lau went on to earn a ticket into the quarterfinals with a round four victory over Frederico Morais and Conner Coffin.
As for the Rip Curl Women’s Pro, Kauai’s Tatiana Weston-Webb is the lone Hawaii surfer remaining. She earned a spot into the semifinal and will face off with Silvana Lima in the final four.
Surf Permitting contest could wrap up on Tuesday.
For the latest results from Bell’s Beach CLICK HERE