Amid a sea of bombing beackbreak peaks, John John Florence took down Jadson Andre in the finals of the Quik Pro France. With thousands of fans scattered across the shore, the Hawaiian made his way to the podium where he was able to briefly reflect on his win. “I’ve had a few really close calls with Tahiti and Lowers, so I was really nervous going into this final against Jadson. The idea of making the final and not winning was really nerve-wracking, so I’m super stoked things went my way.”
Today’s win marked John John’s second victory since he came on tour. As he alluded, he’s had a string of near losses recently, both in Tahiti where he was narrowly edged out of the final by Slater, and against Jordy Smith in the finals at Lowers.Throughout this contest, however, John John proved to the be the man to beat, taking down past event champ Mick Fanning in Round 5 and dropping a slew of near-perfect scores along with a perfect 10 in the process.
From the beginning of the final, John John put pressure on Andre, posting a 7.17 followed by a draining barrel to the tune of an 8.83. Although the Brazilian would attempt to counter time and again, the sweeping currents and shifting peaks got the better of him and Florence would take the win convincingly.
“I had a few weird things happen for me at the start of the year and I’ve made some adjustments recently. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about the title and they all say that the title campaign actually starts the year before,” said Florence. “I’m hoping for a few more good results this season to really make a run for it in 2015. I guess today’s win puts me in contention for this year, but Gabriel (Medina) is so far ahead that some weird stuff would have to happen.”
With his win today, Florence will shoot up to the fifth position in the rankings. For event runner-up Jadson Andre, his finish today was direly needed. Going into the European leg, Andre found himself on the backend of the World Tour ratings at 29th place. However, with this result, Andre moved into 20th place as the tour heads to Portugal. “I really would have loved to win that one, but I don’t know what to say. I’m stoked to have made the final and surf in this event.”
In the ever tightening race toward the world title, rankings leader Gabriel Medina bowed out of the event in the Quarters yesterday, leaving the door open for Slater. However, Kelly fell victim to Jordy Smith in his Quaterfinal heat today and let a crucial opportunity slip through his hands. As the World Tour heads to the next event in Portugal, it’s possible for Medina, who holds more than a 6,000-point margin over Slater, to claim the title outright.
“It was difficult out there today and I just found myself out of position for most of the heat,” Slater said. “I haven’t felt like I’ve been in a rhythm for most of the year. There have been moments, but replicating the feeling where you’re confident things are clicking just hasn’t happened. Still in the race, but today was a missed opportunity. We’ll see what happens in Portugal.”
Final Recap: John John Florence Vs. Jadson Andre
John John Vs Josh Kerr in Semifinal 1
Jadson Andre vs Jordy Smith Semifinal 2
Jordy Smith Takes Down Slater in the Quarters
John John’s 9.5 in Round 5