Florence eyes Olympic spot, as Pipe Masters heads into weekend

Florence eyes Olympic spot, as Pipe Masters heads into weekend
Florence pulls into massive barrel on Wednesday at Billabong Pipe Masters. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - North Shore native and two time World Surfing Champion John John Florence is just a few days away from possibly realizing his Olympic dream.

As the Billabong Pipe Masters in memory of Andy Irons heads into the final weekend, Florence is in prime position to secure a spot on the inaugural USA Surf Team for the 2020 Tokyo games.

After winning his previous heat against fellow local surfer Zeke Lau, Florence now needs to secure a third place finish or better to capture an Olympic qualification.

Following Wednesday’s heat, Florence spoke about how qualifying for the Tokyo games has been motivating factor in his return from knee surgery.

“It was a big motivation coming back for sure,” said Florence. “It’s a good challenge just to get back from my surgery and surf in this event in my home break, and to compete for an Olympic spot.”

Heading into the weekend Florence and 11-time World Surf Champion Kelly Slater are neck-to-neck for the Olympic birth as a host of different scenarios could play out between the two.

Kuliouou native Seth Moniz also advanced to championship weekend after defeating fellow local surfer and three time Peahi Big Wave Champion Billy Kemper.

The Billabong Pipe Masters is expected to conclude between Dec. 14-16. at Oahu’s famed Pipeline break on Oahu’s North Shore.

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