Haleiwa’s John John Florence captured his second straight world championship today in the Billabong Pipe Masters surf contest at Ehukai Beach.
Florence got it done when the only other world-crown contender remaining, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina, lost in the quarterfinals of the World Surf League championship tour’s season-ending contest to France’s Jeremy Flores in the 5- to 7-foot waves at the world famous Banzai Pipeline break.
Later in the day, the 25-year-old Florence made it to the Pipe Masters final, but lost to Flores in his bid to win it for the first time.
Thousands of fans cheered on Florence, who surfed to his first world title in front of the hometown faithful for the first time. A year ago, Florence secured the world title for the first time in his career in Portugal in October before the tour made the December stop at Pipe.
Medina was going for his second world championship to add to his 2014 win. Had he beaten Flores in the quarterfinals, it would have cleared the way for a possible head-to-head Florence vs. Medina showdown later in the day.
Earlier today, Florence advanced to the Pipe final with a fourth-round win over Brazil’s Ciao Ibelli and Australia’s Joel Parkinson. He then knocked off 2014 Pipe Masters champion Julian Wilson of Australia in the quarterfinals and came back late with an 8.73 wave to defeat Brazil’s Ian Gouveia in the semifinals.
Griffin Colapinto, 19, of Santa Barbara, Calif., broke through for the Triple Crown of Surfing trophy, 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). Colapinto is the first surfer from California to win the Triple Crown, which is in its 35th year.
The competition is being live-streamed here.