Defending Vans Triple Crown champ John John Florence (HAW) has opted out of competing in the Reef Hawaiian Pro because of a hamstring injury.
The North Shore native would have been among the surfers to beat in this year’s trifecta, 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. At the Reef Pro, Hawaiian Keanu Asing will now replace him in Round 3, Heat 9.
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.
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.
The Billabong 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.