Hawaiian surfing phenom John John Florence claimed the 2016 World Surf League title on Tuesday with a victory in the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal in Peniche.
Florence faced four-to-six-foot tall waves in the finals, and ultimately won on a series of aerial rotations above the walls of water.
“I honestly can’t believe it right now, it’s obviously not sunk in just yet,” Florence said after the victory. "I know my mom and family are watching online right now and I really wish they were here with me. I’m so stoked. I’ve worked my whole life towards this and I have so many people to thank for this.”
Florence, 24, has been competing on the WSL Championship Tour since he was 16. He finished third in the WSL rankings in 2014 before sinking to 14th last year.
John John Florence's journey to the 2016 WSL championship title
With his win in Portugal he becomes the first Hawaiian to win the men's world surfing title since Andy Irons in 2004.
“My whole life has gone into this, everything I’ve done but just this year especially, learning so much about competitive surfing, focusing completely on it and having so much help and support, it’s been amazing.” Florence said. “The title was my goal this year so at this point I’m just going to go out and have fun.”