John John Florence clinched his first WSL World Title in Peniche, Portugal, Tuesday after advancing to the Final of the MEO Rip Curl Pro. By assuming the throne, the Hawaiian fulfilled what appeared to be his destiny from a young age.
"My whole life has gone toward this," said John John. "I can't believe I'm the World Champion. That was my goal. This is my dream. I'm so stoked."
Raised on the North Shore of Oahu, Florence was mentored by legends. Those same legends pegged him as a future World Champion from the time he was eight years old and routinely surfing Pipeline.
But his road to the top hit some bumps along the way. Numerous injuries, longtime legends, and a fresh rival in Gabriel Medina became huge obstacles in his path. But in 2016 Florence made a public commitment to making a Title run his primary focus, and through some guts, grit, and amazing surfing he made it happen.
Congratulations John John Florence.