John John Florence wins Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

John John Florence on his way to his second Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. Photo: Brent Bielmann/Surfing magazine

John John Florence on his way to his second Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title; photo by Brent Bielmann/Surfing magazine

The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is the next best thing to an ASP world title. It's a culmination of three events on the North Shore of Oahu—the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, and the Billabong Pipeline Masters. To win the Triple Crown it takes a special kind of surfer, and previous winners are some of the sport’s best ever.

And now, for the second time in his blossoming career, the North Shore's own John John Florence has won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. In the first event at Haleiwa, John John was bounced from competition after surfing just one heat, and a Triple Crown title seemed unattainable. At Sunset he rebounded and finished in the semifinals. Yet going into the Pipe Masters, Florence wasn’t thinking Triple Crown. "I didn't even know I was in the running for it," said Florence during the Pipe Masters live webcast. But with his nearest foe, Jeremy Flores, losing out in Round 5, John John suddenly found himself within striking distance of his second Triple Crown title in three years (his first coming in 2011 at age 19).

A dominating performance over just-crowned 2013 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning in the semifinals of the Pipe Masters was enough to get John John the win and the accompanying $10,000 check. "I'm so stoked; it's been my dream to win the Triple Crown since I was a little kid," he said after the semifinal heat. "It's the closest thing to a World title, and yeah, just super stoked!"

With his win, John John's name is added (again) to a list of Vans Triple Crown of Surfing champions that includes Sunny Garcia, Michael and Derek Ho, Tom Carroll, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, and more surfing royalty. The next question is not whether John John will win the Triple Crown again—but how many times he'll win. Sunny Garcia has the record at six, but it's a safe bet that the King of the North Shore will shatter that number one day.

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