John John Florence won the Quiksilver Pro France, beating the Brazilian Jadson Andre in the final. The two front-runners in the race for the world title, Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina, lost in quarters.
The 21-year-old Hawaiian deserved his victory. Amazingly, it’s only his second since he came onto the tour. He humiliated Mick Fanning on Saturday morning with the only 10 point ride of the event, scoring a 19.90 in the heat. Then he beat Kolohe Andino in quarters and Josh Kerr in semis. In the heart of the crowd on the beach, everybody wanted John John to win. For the final, JJ was again unstoppable against Jadson Andre. His ability to place himself in the biggest barrels was his strength during the whole event.
“It has felt like such a long event and I’m so pumped to get the win in the end,” Florence said to the ASP. “Jadson was always going to be a tough opponent. He looked super strong against Jordy Smith in the Semi. Pumped on the win here and the support from the crowd was really impressive.”
Year after year, there are more and more people on the beach as evidenced by the pictures. Surfing has become a major sport in the Landes, and it interests nearly everybody: families with their children, core surfers, and old people were curious and pleased to see the best surfers surfing in France. But this year, everybody seemed enamored by the Hawaiian. And who wouldn’t be, with his style and comfort in the massive waves of Landes beach breaks. What could be better for spectators – and for John John ?
After an irregular start to the year, John John is now in a really good dynamic with a 3rd in Tahiti, a runner-up finish in Trestles and a victory here in France. He is now ranked at the 5th place with some hope to be World Champion.
“I had a few weird things happen for me at the start of the year and I’ve made some adjustments recently. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about the title and they all say that the title campaign actually starts the year before,” Florence said to the ASP. “I’m hoping for a few more good results this season to really make a run for it in 2015. I guess today’s win puts me in contention for this year, but Gabriel Medina is so far ahead that some weird stuff would have to happen.”
Even if Medina lost in quarters, he’s still far ahead with more than 6000 points ahead of the Kelly Slater, who wasn’t able to take advantage of Medina’s loss. In a feeble finish against Jordy Smith, Slater lost in quarters.
“I haven’t felt like I’ve been in a rhythm for most of the year. There have been moments, but replicating the feeling where you’re confident things are clicking just hasn’t happened. Still in the race, but today was a missed opportunity. We’ll see what happens in Portugal,” said Kelly Slater to the ASP.
Three years ago, when Medina won the France event in 2011, I said the event was lead by the future of professional surfing. Composed of Medina, Wilson and Florence, those three stuck out. And three years later, they have confirmed it, with the exception of Wilson, who has yet to make a real impact in the race for the a world title. Even if Florence didn’t start off the season in spectacular fashion, we have always known how spectacularly well he surfs. Now, as he gains more experience, he is surfing more contests at his normal level. When he’s on, he seems to be unstoppable.
The noose is tightening around the future World Champion. There are only two more events, and Medina is pretty far ahead. But anything can happen. Mathematically, there are still seven surfers in contention for the title. There is a lot of math that goes into figuring out the different scenarios, and the ASP laid it out for all to see:
If Medina finishes 25th or 13th in Portugal, John John will need to place second. Fanning will need a fifth, Slater a 25th, and Parkinson a second.
If Medina finishes 9th in Portugal, Florence and Parkinson will need to win the event. Slater will need a third place finish, while Mick will need a to place second.
If Medina finishes 5th in Portugal, Parko and Florence are done. Mick Fanning will need to win, and Kelly will need a to place second.
If Medina finishes 3rd, both Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning will need a first place finish.
If Medina finishes 2nd, only Kelly can overtake him, and he’ll need a win. Fanning will be out of the race.
If Medina wins in Portugal, it’s good night Irene. He’s going home with the world title.
The next stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour will be the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal from October 12 – 23, 2014. Stay tuned!