Congratulations John John Florence - 2016 WSL World ChampionIn the final chapter of a story that’s been writing itself over the last decade, the people’s champ has been crowned. Destiny achieved, John John Florence claims his maiden WSL World Title at the MEO Rip Curl Pro in Portugal. In a convergence of Futures team riders, ultimately is was the elimination of Jordy Smith in the Semifinals by the hand of Conner Coffin that sealed the deal for John John.
"I couldn't have done this without my mom, my family, all my friends back home," said an emotional Florence. "Oh my gosh, I'm so stoked. It's been a long year, the best of my life. So many fun events, I've learned a lot. I can't believe I won the World Title. It's really gotta sink in. I was expecting it to go to Hawaii, I'm kinda still stuck in that mode. My whole life has gone towards this, learning so much about competitive surfing. I couldn't have done it without all the support I've had."
Following the World Title celebration on the beach, John John went on to face Coffin in the Final, and took his second event win of the season. In a blistering display of aerial variations, the near perfect 9.50 for a lofty alley-oop on his final ride put the finishing touches on Coffins best effort of the year.
"I've had some tricky heats here, I couldn't have done it without everyone in my camp. Thank you to everyone who’s been coming down here every day, supporting us, thank you for having us here in Portugal. The biggest challenge I've had, once in the lead, was holding on. People wondering, 'Can he?,' it can get inside your head. I've learned a lot about myself this year. Now I'm just excited to go home. To be the World Champion, I don't know how to feel yet."
"There's so much to take in, a lot of emotions," Florence said from the presentation podium. "I tried airs, I felt relaxed, I'm super stoked to win the event too. It's been my dream to win the World Title ever since watching Kelly [Slater] and Andy [Irons]. I might cry or something later.