- WSL / Matt Dunbar

While there's a brief break in the action at the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona, let's take a hot minute to talk about John John Florence. Setting the pace at Main Break, we've already seen him drop a 10 for an impossible tube ride, as well as tally big scores for some impeccable rail work. So, can't anybody pace with the two-time World Champ?

Given the damage Florence has done already and the unrelenting barrage of south swell lining up in the forecast, the quick answer is, probably not. Driven by that 10-point ride, he had the highest heat score of the Seeding Round. He closest rivals on the WSL Leaderboard, Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira, only garnered 13-point totals while Florence tallied a 17.50. Only rookie Matthew McGillivray came close with his 17.33.

Florence had the third highest heat score of the Round of 32, topped only by phenominal performances by veterans Jeremy Flores and Caio Ibelli. But again, he was still better than Medina and Ferreira.

Setting The Bar At Main Break, Florence Asserts Himself As The Man To Beat
The surfer from Hawaii survives a hard-fought heat against Leonardo Fioravanti, dropping another excellent score at Main Break.

In the Round of 16, Florence will face Peterson Crisanto in the opening heat of the round. If your gut tells you that Florence is going to run away with this one, your gut is probably right. The stats don't lie. For starters, Florence has surfed 26 heats at Margs to Cristano's seven.

This will be their first head-to-head match-up. Florence has a career average heat score at Margaret River of 16.15 (which is right where he's been throughout this event so far), while Crisanto has an average heat score of 12.17. Florence has had 32 waves go into the excellent range, Cristano has had zero. Starting to see a pattern here?

Then there's the matter of what Florence is riding at the moment. He's been keeping his magic Margs board on ice, breaking it out just for special occasions.

"I'm surfing on the same board I have surfed out here for the last few years and it always seems to do the job," said Florence after the Seeding Round.

MARGARET RIVER, AUS - MAY 3:   Two-time WSL Champion John John Florence of Hawaii surfing in Heat 1 of Round 3 of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona on May 3, 2021 in Margaret River, WA, Australia.(Photo by Cait Miers/World Surf Leagu Florence, a fan favorite in and out of the water. - WSL / Cait Miers

And finally, the forecast plays to Florence's strength in a huge way. With a run of sizable south swells lining up and some potentially wild and woolly conditions throughout the remainder of the waiting period, this certainly isn't going to be a grovel fest. And we all know how the surfer from Hawaii thrives in raw, open-ocean power.

There have been some inspired performances by other surfers in the draw, but in terms of consistency and comfort in the water, Florence is setting the pace. We'll see if he can add another event win to his resume at this venerated Australian surf spot. The smart money says yes.

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