As the start of the 2022 Championship Tour season gets set to kick off with the Billabong Pro Pipeline, we're counting down the most memorable championship moments from the past 10 years.
How does a two-time World Champion, a surfer who grew up in front of Pipeline and is widely considered the best Pipe surfer of his generation, not have a Championship Tour victory there?
Florence had long been considered the best out there -- that's why it was such a glaring omission from his long list of achievements.
He'd come close to victory at Pipeline, with two runner-up finishes, but after competing at nearly every CT event at Pipe since 2008, it was an itch that really needed to be scratched. It felt borderline indecent that this particular box had yet to be ticked.
"It feels so good to win," said Florence after taking down Gabriel Medina in the Final. "Especially from that heat, that was a really hard heat. I'm stoked to win against Gabe … I feel like competing against him is why I want to compete."
"Winning the Pipe Masters has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I've grown up watching this event. I've made a couple of finals and never quite got it. I'm super stoked. I don't know what else to say."
Winning at Pipe is a dream of many Championship Tour surfers, though none have been built to achieve the honor quite like Florence. A prodigy who has been a household name since he was a child, Florence grew up in front of Pipeline and spent almost every waking moment surfing the North Shore of Oahu.
While many surfers need to become comfortable at Pipeline later in life, Florence was right at home out there while he was still in elementary school. Watching this small child with a shock of blond hair toying with the world's most infamous wave became a regular image from every Pipeline swell.
In every other way, Florence had more than lived up to the hype that been placed on his shoulders by the surfing industry, with Triple Crown wins and World Titles, but Pipeline was always the event he was born to win.
If time out at the wave -- to the point of sheer mastery -- is a measure of preparation, almost no one else deserved this more than him.
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- The Pipeline Top 10: Flores Upsets World Title Race, Claims Second Pipe Victory
- The Pipeline Top 10: The Pipeline Top 10: Where Olympic Dreams Were Made Or Broken
- The Pipeline Top 10: Slater's Perfect Backdoor Barrel Reminds Us Why He's Still The Greatest
The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Pipeline gets underway on January 29. Keep it locked right here at WorldSurfLeague.com for the latest news and info as we countdown the start of the 2022 Championship Tour.