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John John Florence Has Unfinished Business at Pipeline

It's been a damn good year for John John Florence. After clinching an emotional win at The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau at huge Waimea Bay, then battling from behind this season to clinch his first World Title, a little rest seems well earned.

John John Florence (HAW) pulls in deep at Backdoor during Round 1. Florence will be competing in the entire Vans Triple Crown, which includes two QS10000 events at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach, and the final Championship Tour stop at Pipeline. He won the Triple Crown in 2013, after finishing runner-up at Pipeline. Now he's looking to do one better there. WSL / Laurent Masurel

But Florence won't be sipping any champagne out of his new trophy yet, because there's one more meaningful Title he's got his heart set on: Pipe Master.

Pipeline is John John's backyard. Growing up, when his mom yelled at him to go outside and play, he walked across the sand to Pipe. And he's been doing it since he was little. Today, it's his wave. Nobody parts Pipe's thick crowd like John, and he's widely believed to be the best surfer in the world at Pipeline today. Four Volcom Pipe Pro wins would seem to back that up. But as sweet as each of those victories were for Florence, none of them carry the same weight of the Pipe Masters, the final Championship Tour event of the season.

John John Florence winning his quarterfinal enroute to clinching the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title.  ASP/ Kirstin For John John, who grew up at Pipe, this is like nabbing another drink out of the fridge. WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

Florence has been competing in the event since 2008, yet in those eight appearances he's managed to make the Finals just once. In John's 2013 clash with Kelly Slater, King Kelly, the 7x Pipe Master decided he wasn't ready to hand over the torch yet. Slater remains undefeated against John John during elimination rounds at Pipeline, with a 4-0 record.

John's had two disappointing Pipe Masters results since then. In 2014 he finished in 5th; in 2015, 9th. So there's little doubt he wants to get his groove back this year. And one would have to think he'd be begging for another Finals rematch with Kelly Slater just to put a little icing on this year's cake.

John John Florence (HAW) paddles to the pot of gold at Pipeline.   ASP / Cestari There's one more elusive win at the other end of that rainbow, and Florence wants it. WSL / Kelly Cestari
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