• Star-Advertiser staff

Florence takes round 4 heat at Pipe Masters


COURTESY WSL

Reigning World Champion and World No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard John John Florence of Hawaii advanced to Round Four, Saturday, of the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters after winning Heat 6 of Round Three at Pipeline.

The drama continues to intensify today at the Billabong Pipe Masters, where Haleiwa’s John John Florence and Brazil’s Gabriel Medina are in an intense competition to determine the world surfing champion.

Both are going for their second world title and both surfed into the upcoming quarterfinals, which will be held a little later today at Ehukai Beach.

Florence got to the quarterfinals with a fourth-round, non-elimination victory over Brazil’s Ciao Ibelli and Australia’s Joel Parkinson. Medina had to win two heats to get to the quarters. After placing second in his heat to winner Jeremy Flores and third-place Italo Ferreira, Medina moved on to a daunting elimination fifth-round matchup against 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. Medina’s two Backdoor waves of 9.07 and 8.90 gave him a 17.97 to 9.16 victory over Slater.

The path is still there for the 25-year-old Florence to capture surfing’s biggest prize for the first time at his home break of Pipeline. A year ago, he wrapped up the world title in Portugal before the World Surf League championship tour made its final stop at Pipe.

Florence can get it done today by going on to win the Pipe Masters. Medina can do it by winning the Pipe Masters as long as Florence doesn’t make it to the two-man final.

Medina is going for his second world crown to add to the one he won in 2014. Slater failed at his unprecedented bid for an eighth Pipe Masters championship in his loss to Medina.

Both Florence and Medina are also going for their first Pipe Masters title and are up against six others in the quarters.

As of 11:30 a.m., three surfers were still in the running for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing that will also be decided today — Griffin Colapinto and Kolohe Andino of Santa Barbara, Calif., and Brazil’s Italo Ferreira. The Triple Crown winner is the best surfer among the three season-ending Hawaii events, the Hawaiian Pro, the Vans World Cup and the Pipe Masters.

The competition is being live-streamed at wsl.tv/PipeLIVE .

Florence takes round 4 heat at Pipe Masters

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