Florence lit up Western Australia and dominated the event with near-perfect scores in almost every heat. The reigning WSL Champion continued his form throughout the Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Final today in solid six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) waves at Margaret River’s Main Break.
Florence’s success marks his first victory on the CT Australian leg and best ever start to the elite Championship season. The win pushes Florence up to first on the Jeep Leaderboard and he will sport the coveted Jeep Leader Jersey heading into Bells Beach.
This is one of my favourite places to come to in the world. There is such an abundance of different and amazing waves. The crowd we get for the event is awesome and it’s just such a special event. Thank you to my mom and family. My mom would take me and my brothers to all of our surfing events when we were kids and was always supportive. I wish she was here to celebrate, but I know they are watching at home. My support crew here has been really great and fun to surf and just hang out with, so thank you to those guys. – John John Florence.
The Final saw a dramatic finish as Florence charged through Main Break with massive laybacks and powerful rail-carves. Andino fought back with a big air reverse and clean snaps for a 13.60 two-wave score. Despite Andino’s technical maneuvers, Florence kept on pace with his previous performances to earn a phenomenal 19.03 combined score to close out the day.
I was really excited to get out there and just stay focused on my own surfing at this event. I feel like I learned a ton last year. I have been working closely on my equipment and my boards feel incredible right now. Surfing against Kolohe [Andino] in the Final was really cool. He used to always beat me in the national events when we were kids, so it was nice to get one back on him. Continued Florence.
Andino’s runner-up finish is his best result in Margaret River and will move him up to 3rd place on the Jeep Leaderboard. Andino has yet to solidify an event win on the elite Championship Tour, but will now look to Bells to improve his 2017 World Title campaign.
I’m really stoked with this event. The waves today — and the entire event for that matter — have been awesome. You can’t ask for much more than big swell and offshore winds. I know I work as hard as anyone else on tour and my surfing is there, but I just need to work on competing right. This event was really John’s [Florence] to lose. I am glad I was on the other side of the draw as he was ripping so hard all event. I’ve been competing against John since as long as I can remember and he has always pushed me a lot, so it was cool to share a CT Final with him. – Kolohe Andino.
Filipe Toledo fell to Andino in a close Semifinal match-up by only 0.63-points. The two went blow for blow but it was Andino who took the win. The heat was briefly put on a precautionary hold halfway through the heat due to fear of a shark presence in the lineup. Event organizers fully assessed the area before resuming the event.
Toledo, who was absent at last year’s event due to an injury, put on a stunning performance throughout the day to earn a 3rd place result. Toledo will also climb from 25th to 8th place on the Leaderboard. Toledo previously ousted 2015 WSL Champion and former event winner, Adriano de Souza, in the all-Brazilian Quarterfinal matchup.
That was a really strange heat. Stopping half way through then resuming, it was hard to stay focussed out there. I’m really happy with my result here. This is a place where I feel I don’t get much attention so to show everyone that I can perform in conditions like this is really good for me. I can deal with big open face waves and powerful surf. I just want to make sure I can take this form with me to Bells and keep it going. – Filipe Toledo.
The next stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour is the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia from April 12 – April 24.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 19.03
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.60
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 19.27 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.57
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.63 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.00