With right-breaking barrels rare, John John Florence still managed to find a double-overhead backdoor barrel in a clutch moment to win the 2011 Da Hui Backdoor Shootout title and a $40,000 payday yesterday.
The 18-year-old North Shore resident pulled in from the takeoff, stalled, pumped in the barrel and exited the tube cleanly. The judges rewarded him with a 12.4 out of a possible 13 points.
"The wind was kind of turning on and I knew I had to get something big to get a 10," said Florence about his winning ride. "I seen that right coming and I was so stoked — I almost fell on the drop just thinking about it. There weren’t too many rights coming that day. That one just came to me and I got lucky."
2011 DA HUI BACKDOOR SHOOTOUT RESULTS
1. John John Florence (Vans), $40,000
2. Kalani Chapman (Vans), $20,000
3. Makua Rothman (RVCA), $15,000
4. Mark Healey (Quiksilver), $10,000
5. Fred Patacchia, Jr. (Quiksilver), $5,000
Contest officials added an extra point to the final day’s scores to offset the high scores from the first day of competition, when the waves were significantly smaller. While it tightened the race for the top spot, Florence appeared to have the Shootout title locked up since the first round.
On the first day of competition Monday and in his first heat, Florence caught a 10.5 and a 10.25 by skillfully navigating two Pipeline tubes. He boosted his overall score on the final day by adding the 12.4 barrel. He won with a three-wave total of 33.15 out of a possible 37 points.
"(Yesterday) was twice the size and it was pretty much firing all morning and the (first) day was a lot smaller," Florence said.
Pipeline was pumping for the final day of competition, with 20- to 24-foot wave faces. Florence’s teammate, Kalani Chapman, caught arguably the best barrel of the winter yesterday in the third round.
"That wave was the best wave of the contest by far," Florence said about Chapman’s barrel.
Chapman surfs Pipe whenever it’s breaking, but the 28-year-old from the North Shore admits that his wave yesterday morning was something special, calling it "one of the best waves of my life out here."
"I was on my 8-6 Rusty, I paddled as hard as I could with all my might, ended up catching it, elevator dropped into this massive barrel and it just spit. It was definitely a very good wave," Chapman said. "It’s all got to come together and it’s a very special thing that happens … you’re dealing with Mother Nature and you feel alive after making a wave like that because it could kill you."
Chapman finished second and took home $20,000.
Chapman, Florence, Nathan Fletcher and Sion Milosky made up the Vans team that was awarded the overall team title and an original Christian Lassen painting.