It seems only fitting that John John Florence, arguably the most talented surfer alive today, would win his third Volcom Pipe Pro on Groundhog Day. Clearly a man in tune with his surroundings, amid a declining head-high swell, John John put on a clinic at Backdoor today, besting the likes of Chris Ward, Josh Kerr, and Ola Eleogram respectively in the final. Following his win, we tapped John John’s shoulder to see what motivated him, what’s it’s like to battle it out in a heat at Pipe, and how it feels to be the most dominant Pipe surfer alive.
So what was motivating you out there?
A lot of my motivation came from having a horrible heat out at the Pipe Masters earlier in the winter. I just wanted to do well in the event and to come up winning at the end—man, winning it three times in a row—I just can’t believe it. I’m just so stoked.
With the four-man heats and the conditions, it seems like there was some battling out there.
Yeah, I like the four-man heats out at Pipe. There’s no priority and it’s every man for himself. Sometimes, you can try and go off and just sneak waves in. But for the paddle battles, yeah, that just happens when you have waves like we had today. You know, when it’s peaky and small like this there’s a lot of battling going on, especially when it’s rights and lefts, but yeah, it can feel a little scary out there when that’s going on.
It looks like it got pretty tense out there on a number of occasions today. Is the drama left in the water at the end of the heat or does it ever play out on land?
Yeah, it’s a little just frustrating but it pretty much stays in the water. A heat is a heat. There were a lot of heats where guys were paddling everyone too deep and good waves were going by unridden and that’s just something that happens—that’s just what happens when you have conditions like we had today.
There were a few people on Twitter claiming that one of your waves in the final should have been scored higher and some people were claiming 10s.
[Laughs] Nah, I don’t think that any of my waves felt like 10s compared to some of the 10s that people had yesterday.
With this being your third Pipe Pro win, you’re now tied with Jamie O’Brien. How’s that feel?
Yeah, I guess we’re technically tied for the Pipe Pro wins, but he still has a Pipe Masters win over me. But overall, he’s the man out there. He’s still definitely better out there than I am.
With your winning streak, for the most part, do you ever enter a heat feeling like you can’t lose?
No, I don’t feel like that at all. Every heat I’m scared that I might lose. It’s sort of a scary moment for me every time, but if you’re able to surf out there with just three other guys, it’s hard to be anything but stoked. But to win three in a row, I still can’t even believe it. I’m so stoked, I’m tripping out. I wasn’t expecting to win this again going into the comp, that’s for sure. I guess I feel confident out there, but not at all cocky.