When reigning World Champ John John Florence paddled out for his Round One heat at the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters, he already knew that his main rival, world No. 2 Gabriel Medina, would be forced to surf again in Round Two's elimination heats. His job was simple -- win his Round One heat and avoid the spectre of a second-round loss.
Florence, especially out at Pipeline, has an uncanny ability to manufacture scores on poor-to-average waves. And with conditions slightly deteriorating, Florence took to his task at hand and won his first important heat of the event. He's off to Round Three, but will be watching Medina's next heat with keen interest, there is no doubt.