- WSL / Kirstin Scholtz
Florence Explains Injury
The North Shore local on why he was forced to miss the 2014 Reef Hawaiian Pro.

Defending Vans Triple Crown champ John John Florence (HAW) has opted out of competing in the Reef Hawaiian Pro because of a hamstring injury.

Florence isn't the only World Championship Tour (WCT) surfer whose injury has affected his Hawaiian competition schedule. C.J. Hobgood's ability to compete at Pipe is in question as he recovers from a severe cut sustained during the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Australian Taj Burrow, a past Pipe Master, will miss the event this year for the first time in his 17-year career, opting to undergo shoulder surgery for a recurring injury.

Slater Led the Pack at Pipe in 2013
Kelly Slater wins the 2013 Billabong Pipe Masters over Vans Triple Crown winner John John Florence.

And Kelly Slater (USA), the defending Pipe Masters champion, recently broke a few toes while freesurfing in Fiji. The injury will not keep him from competing at Pipe.

Florence, meanwhile, is a North Shore native and would have been among the surfers to beat in this year's Triple Crown, which began with the contest in Haleiwa. Florence suffered a grade 2 strain to his muscle last week and has been advised not to surf at Haleiwa, according to a letter from his doctor. To the likely chagrin of other competitors, his injury is not expected to keep him out of the Billabong Pipe Masters, where he's a huge threat.

John John Florence of Oahu, Hawaii (pictured) placed runner up to 11X ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) during the Final of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons at Pipeline on Saturday December 14, 2013. Florence was in sensational form throughout this year's event, ousting newly crowned 3X ASP World Champion Mick Fanning in the semifinals. In addition to his runner up finish,  Florence's consistent performance throughout this all three events of this year's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing saw him clinch the 2013 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. Florence's chances for defending his Triple Crown title are slim now that he's had to bow out of the Reef Hawaiian Pro. - WSL / Kirstin Scholtz

The Pipe Masters will run December 8-20. It is the last elite men's event of the season and will determine a World Champion. Catch all the action LIVE daily at this site.

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