After capturing his first World Title in Portugal two weeks ago, John John Florence returned home to Hawaii last week to a well-deserved hero's welcome. The tight-knit North Shore community lined Kamehameha Highway, waving signs and banners to greet him.
While thrilled for Florence, truth be told, most of his Hawaiian friends would have preferred to watch him win his first World Title in their own backyard, at Pipeline. But if Florence has his way, they'll still have good reason to celebrate, as he's hoping to put the icing on his 2016 cake by winning the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing...again.
The Vans Triple Crown is comprised of Hawaii's three most prominent events: The Hawaiian Open at Haleiwa, the Vans World Cup at Sunset and the Billabong Pipe Masters at Pipeline. It's one of the most coveted and revered awards in surfing.
John John became the youngest surfer to ever win a Triple Crown in 2011, and he repeated the feat in 2013. We can bet that he'd like to repay his hometown crowd for their support by winning another one. Plus, there's the nagging goal of winning his first Pipe Masters Title.
Conditions on the North Shore are already peak-season perfect, and on Wednesday Florence was looking good, fine-tuning his equipment. While he's an invitee for the Pe'ahi Challenge that is now scheduled to run Friday, Florence has told friends he's going to pass on the Big Wave Tour event to stay focused on the Hawaiian Pro, which starts Saturday.
Watch the Pe'ahi Challenge and the Hawaiian Pro on the WSL homepage and app.