In the dying minutes of his last chance at victory, hometown hero John John Florence pulled off the unthinkable by solidifying the score he needed to win the 2016 Eddie Aikau Big-Wave Invitational. John John edged out big-wave superhero Shane Dorian and former event champion Ross Clarke-Jones, becoming the second youngest winner of the most prestigious event in professional surfing.
“It’s one of the most special moments of my life, for sure,” said John John Florence in his post-heat interview. “This event’s only run a couple times in my whole life, and for me to be a part of it is amazing. I’m just overwhelmed with adrenaline. Just from the whole day, looking at big ones like ‘ahh, am I gonna go or not?'”
Today’s conditions down at the contest site were monumental, as faces up to 60 feet roared through the North Shore’s iconic Waimea Bay. Clyde Aikau, event competitor and brother of Eddie Aikau, said it’s the best Waimea Bay he’s seen in over 40 years. And by no surprise, thousands of spectators occupied virtually every inch of the surrounding coast, eager to witness history in the making.
Today’s victory will undoubtedly serve as a serious confidence booster for John John as he heads into the 2016 World Tour season, and it marks an important accolade for the young man who many believe is the rightful heir to Kelly Slater’s daunting throne. While a torch-pass of 11 world titles might take a decade or so, an Eddie victory sure is a good start.
We look forward to seeing John John Florence at Snapper. Will 2016 be John John’s year?