Hawaiian surfer and reigning World Surfing League (WSL) champion John John Florence capped off a glorious performance through the heats at the 2017 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro with a masterful victory over Kolohe Andino (USA) in Sunday’s final.
Dazzling judges and crowds with his near-perfect scores throughout the heats and semi finals, Florence came out firing on all cylinders, stunning Andino with a 9.63 ride on his first wave.
Florence followed up with a 7.50 and a 9.40 ride, while Andino battled to match the score, catching six waves to the Hawaiian’s three but only managing a 7.03 best single wave score.
Despite a big finish – and some big air – from Andino, scoring a respectable 13.60 just wasn’t enough to come close to Florence’s 19.03 combined score.
Both surfers sang the praises of the Margaret River region’s surf, echoing comments made earlier in the weekend by women’s champion Sally Fitzgibbons.
“This is one of my favourite places to come to in the world,” said Florence.
“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.”
Andino, whose second placing is his best result at a Margaret River Pro, said the waves in the South West were all a surfer could want.
“I’m really stoked with this event,” Andino said.
“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.”
Earlier, Florence easily eliminated Australian Jack Freestone in the morning’s semifinals, scoring a 19.27 two-wave score to Freestone’s 10.57.
Freestone held the biggest upset of the day with his quarterfinals elimination of fellow Australian Owen Wright early on Sunday morning.
John John Florence moves to the No.1 position on the Jeep Leaderboard while Andino shifts to third spot ahead of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Victoria.
All eyes will be on the waves at the Victorian event as rumours continue to swirl over the WSL’s choice between the Bells Beach event and retaining the Margaret River Pro on the championship tour in 2018.