Breaking: John John Florence Is Out For J-Bay, Likely the Rest of the Year

2 Jul 2019 0 Share

Photo: WSL/Poullenot

Photo: WSL/Poullenot

COASTALWATCH | NEWS

Current World No.1 and breakaway favourite for the 2019 World Title, John John Florence has today announced that he won't be competing at the Corona J-Bay Open next week and will also "likely" miss the rest of the year as he gets surgery for a ruptured ACL.

"This has been a really fun year in competition and outside of the jersey. Unfortunately, in Brazil I ruptured my ACL. I'll be pulling out of J-Bay and likely the rest of the CT season," wrote Florence to Instagram. "I'm opting for surgery so I can be 100% next year. I'm excited for this new adventure and everything I will learn along the way. Thanks for all of the support!"

The two time World Champion had to withdraw from the Oi Rio Pro midway through the event when he was due to surf a quarterfinal heat with Jordy Smith, after injuring himself during the event.

At the time of the injury, Florence told the WSL:

“I had a ton of speed on my last wave and I was going to do a turn and it was kind of breaking already and so I just tried to do a fly away, but the wave broke on my back leg and buckled the same knee I injured last year...It just got tweaked and I was in a little bit of pain. It’s super powerful out there right now and I get really excited to do airs, so in my head I just felt like I should leave the water and go rest it and try to make sure it’s all good. I’m going to get it looked at and see how it feels tomorrow.” 

The probably season-ending injury is a re-occurence of Florence's 2018 ACL injury he picked up while freesurfing Keramas after the Oakley Bali Pro. It was an injury that ended his campaign for a third straight World Title.

Whether we see John John again this year or not, (say, at Pipeline in December) this certainly slams giant implications on the 2019 Men's World Title race of which John has been the clear and leading favourite. John John is the only surfer to have more than one event win thus far, which now count for nought.

This opens the door wide open for the rest of the top five, with surfers like Kolohe Andino, Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo and Jordy Smith all positioned well to make up ground and claim a maiden World Title.

(It's also worth noting that two-time World Champ Gabriel Medina –who sits way back in eighth – is the only surfer on the CT to have won each of the final five events of the year; he could very likely take a bunch of them in 2019).

Ordinarily, a season ending, World Title killing injury like this one is bitter news enough, but the competitive implications of thisnews go further than just the WSL World Title this year. The 2019 CT season of course also has 2020 Tokyo Games qualifications on the line. With just two spots for surfers allocated per country, it's likely that if the year keeps going as it is, the USA's Olympic team will now be fielding current World No.2 Kolohe Andino, and current world no.7, Kelly Slater.

But that info and speculation is for later, for now it's time to be bummed that the best surfer in the world, one of the best surfers we've ever been lucky enough to see, has once again been struck down by injury in his prime.

How shitty. Get well soon John.

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