John John Florence claims 2011 World Cup of Surfing

December 3, 2011 | Surfing
John John Florence: yellow means gold

Hawaii's John John Florence won the Vans World Cup of Surfing, at Sunset Beach, Hawaii. the 19-year-old prodigy led a spectacular tube-riding battle in perfect 10-foot surf against Michel Bourez, Adam Melling and Hank Gaskell. His two-wave heat total of 17 points (9.5, 7.5) eclipsed the field.

Florence began his Vans Triple Crown campaign two weeks ago at Haleiwa, where he placed fifth. The third and final leg of the Vans Triple Crown now awaits him on his home doorstep at Pipeline. "I'm having fun, I surf for a living and that's a dream in itself," said Florence.

"This is my first 6 star Prime win, it's at home, it's one of my home breaks and all my family and friends are here, so it's one of the best moments of my life, for sure. It means everything. I've watched these guys since I was so little growing up here and coming to events when I was six years old, getting their autographs."

On the upcoming Pipe Masters: "I live right there at Pipe and I surf there almost every day in all conditions. Its going to be fun, for sure."

There was as much adrenaline on the beach as there was on the waves for the final. Sunset turned on like a giant wave machine, pumping out a succession of rides that saw every finalist get barreled.

But Florence's performance was astounding; he covered an expansive lineup seemingly picking off waves at will with every one of them offering an impossible amount of tube time. Bourez and Melling fought hard to catch him in the 30-minute final.

At one point, Melling found himself inside a game-changer of a tube ride, traveling for more than 100 yards and disappearing for six seconds, but he failed to emerge through the curtain of whitewater.

After his runner-up finish at Haleiwa, and his third here today, Melling is ranked second on the Vans Triple Crown ratings and will follow John John to Pipe.

"It would have been good to go one better than the last contest, but I guess that's how it is," said Melling, from Australia's Lennox Head. "But if there's barrels and John John's around I'm sure he's in them somewhere."

On his tube ride that was the longest of the final: "It wasn't that great! I didn't make it! But it would have been good. I was coming through it, I raced, and I got through one hard bit and then just into the next and it dropped out on me. I thought I had it there for a little bit. It would have been nice to come out of it.

"The Triple Crown means everything. Since I was young coming over here I've always wanted to win it, which would be amazing. Last year I did alright out at Pipe but I'm guessing this year's going to be a little bit different. I think it's going to be big Pipe. I'll have to get out there this week and get a bit of practice in."

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a three-event series staged on Oahu's North Shore. It is famous for its three equally challenging venues of Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline that represent the ultimate test of a surfer's ability. To win the Vans Triple Crown is second only to winning the ASP World Title.

2011 World Cup of Surfing | Final

1st - John John Florence (HAW) 17.00pts, $40,000
2nd - Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.30pts, $20,000
3rd - Adam Melling (AUS) 11.96pts, $12,000
4th - Hank Gaskell (HAW) 11.53pts, $10,000