After his early round exit against wildcard Mikey Wright on the Gold Coast, John John Florence is looking for redemption. The Bells Beach trophy is one of the few achievements that the Hawaiian has yet to attain, fueling his motivation even more.
Although it may be premature, after his Round 1 heat today against Tomas Hermes and Mikey McDonagh, Florence appears to be making a comeback. The 2x World Champ earned one of the highest-scoring waves of the day with an 7.43 to backup a previous 6.33.
"Winkipop is kind of like a small J-Bay in a way," he said. "You have that real down-the-line kind of speed. It makes for a very rippable and fun wave. It's really just a matter of picking the right one and just keeping as much speed as possible".
Although Florence has never won this event, he has had flashes of brilliance over the years. In 2014, he received a perfect 10 for an air he did at Rincon, which is just a few steps up from Bells. And last year he landed a huge alley-oop at the Bells Bowl, which earned him even more accliam -- and a 9.97.
"Patience is always the key here," said Florence. "I've never won at Bells but I would love to. To ring that bell would be pretty awesome. The last few years I've been fortunate enough to get a few good airs in. This year...I'm just seeing what the day brings. If it's offshore, I'm going to focus on big turns and maybe a little barrel. There's a big section and I've been inspired by a lot of the guys freesurfing."
An inspired Florence is a dangerous thing, and he'll be moving straight into Round 3.
Check back Saturday local time for the call at 7:30am AEDT and watch live daily on WSL.com