John John Florence has officially pulled out of the Outerknown Tahiti Pro due to a lingering knee injury. He will be replaced by Michel Bourez.
The announcement came via the World Surf League’s Instagram page, which laid to rest any speculation that the two-time world champion was sailing to Tahiti for the event. Florence has been documenting his voyage regularly on social media, but in a fashion that has come to be expected from him, he’s been vague about his final destination.
The news undoubtedly is a disappointment to fans of professional surfing, as Florence’s performances in Tahiti have always been some of the best on tour. In 2014, he came up against Kelly Slater in a heat that many called the “greatest in competitive surfing history.”
His knee injury has been a bit of an Achilles’ heel — after tweaking it at G-Land, he surfed the event in a knee brace. Then he was forced to pull out of El Salvador as well as the following event at J-Bay. The last time John John surfed a full season was 2017. That was also the same year he won his most recent world title. But even when he’s not fully healthy, John John is still one of the best in the world. In 2019, after tearing his ACL, he qualified for the Olympics.
While his attendance at Teahupo’o will be sorely missed, you can’t put a price on your health. Here’s to hoping John John Florence will be back at 100 percent in the near future.