Hawaii native and reigning WSL champion John John Florence was defeated in the first Semifinal by eventual runner-up Caio Ibelli. Florence fell 0.20 points short of the win against Brazilian Powerhouse Ibelli but, put on an extraordinary performance. Florence is still off to a good start on the Champion Tour, despite the Semifinal loss. Still ranked first in the world, Florence will look to defend his event title in Rio and retain the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey.
“This is by far my best start to the year, so I’m really happy,” Florence said. “I had a really fun event with some great heats, but unfortunately Caio [Ibelli] got me again at Bells Beach. I made a few mistakes that were kind of beneficial because I can take a lot from them and learn from them. I’m really looking forward to heading back to Brazil in a few weeks. I’ve had success there and the waves are really fun, so it should be a great event. I’ve had an awesome Australian leg and am stoked with how it all went.”
Florence just proved how ruthless the competition is on the elite Champion tour having two narrow wins over three-time WSL Champion, Mick Fanning of Australia. Fanning fell short not being able to compete against the North Shore native but gave an impressive performance throughout the day showcasing his sharp, aggressive maneuvers to earn some of the highest wave scores of the day.
Good luck to you John John and the rest of the WSL wave riders. Keep up the tremendous work and keep charging!