John John Florence Crowned Margaret River Champion in an All-Hawaiian Men’s Final at the 2012 Telstra Drug Aware Pro24/03/2012 14:37PM WST
John John Florence is chaired from the beach after winning the 2012 Telstra Drug Aware Pro © SWA Hayto.
\John John Florence, the hottest young surfer on the planet today, has continued his winning streak by taking out the ASP Prime rated Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River today.
Nineteen year old Florence won a hotly contested, all-Hawaiian final against 25 year old Olamana Eleogram, who could not continue his giant-killing dream run after earlier eliminating top seeds Owen Wright and Josh Kerr in the man on man heats.
Florence was clearly the form surfer of the event heading into the final, having consistently recorded 16 point plus heat scores over the week. Florence progressed after an amazing face-off against fellow teen prodigy Kolohe Andino in the Round of 16 late on Friday afternoon. John John made up for loss to Andino in a No Loser round earlier that day with a scorching score of 19.70 featuring the first and only ten point ride of the competition.
The wind died down and the swell began to pulse for the Men’s final after strong offshore winds made surfing in the early morning finals difficult. Eleogram was the first to strike in the 35 minute final, catching a right hander to bank an early score of 6.00. Florence soon responded with a 7.00 point right hander and backed it up straight away with another nice right, nailing an enormous finishing turn to score 7.83.
The final then became a backhand battle between the two natural footers as the lefthander began to offer the best scoring potential in the changing wind. Eleogram went left under priority hitting a number of critical turns to score an 8.83 to take the lead. But that only seemed to make Florence more determined as he aggressively attacked consecutive lefthanders, taking to the air on both waves to land scintillating backside reverse aerials, impressing the judges with scores of 9.43 and 9.33 to take a solid grip on the final by the half way mark with a total of 18.76.
That left Eleogram needing a perfect ride for the win, as Florence continued to put on a jaw-dropping display of new-school innovative surfing. The challenge proved too great for the affable Eleogram, who had to be content with making an ASP Prime final for the first time in his career.
“I was so stoked about being in the final with a good friend, a guy I grew up surfing with as a young kid,” said Florence after he had been chaired up the staircase from the beach by his mates. “Some great waves came through early in the heat and I felt loose and relaxed and hit a few airs. The wind here is just like home and it was pushing into the left for a change and gave me a chance to get up on a couple.” But the cool Florence did admit to some jitters midway into the final. “I started to get nervous with about fifteen minutes left, just thinking this could turn around on me, you just never know.”
The win for Florence continues a hot start to 2012, his rookie year on the ASP World Tour, as he won the season starting ASP 5 star Volcom Pipe Pro at his home beach in Hawaii, before going through to the last 16 at the opening World Tour event at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast earlier this month. It marks a rare streak of form for the Hawaiian prodigy who first rose to prominence on the tour when he became the youngest ever surfer to clinch the coveted Vans Triple Crown at his home breaks in Hawaii at the end of 2011, clinching his place on the ASP World Tour for 2012.