This is Julian Wilson's major threat at Pipe
SURFING: Julian Wilson has the chance to claim his second Billabong Pipe Masters in 2014, but he'll face some tough opposition from the newly-crowned world champion and hometown hero.
John John Florence (HAW) has his heart set on his first victory at the Billabong Pipe Masters, when it starts early this morning.
Florence has been competing in this event since 2008, but has yet to secure a victory at his home break. After the Hawaiian's incredible season, including his win at the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau and emotional clinching of the World Surfing Title in Portugal, Florence will look to complete his year with a win in his backyard.
"Pipe is my favorite wave in the entire world,” he said.
"But, the Pipe Masters is one of the hardest events to win because you have a left and you have a right, and on top of that you have the best surfers in the world who are all very good at getting barrelled.
"If I could finish it off to win Pipe, I would be super stoked, but at the same time I am going to have fun ... I surfed the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa relaxed and ended up winning, so I am going to take that attitude.”
Florence's recent Hawaii homecoming after his World Championship win saw him take down the Hawaiian Pro, the first event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing WSL Specialty Series.
The Billabong Pipe Masters is the third and final stage of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, and Florence's success in this event would be an incredibly historic feat.
"This year has been the best year of competitive surfing of my life with winning the Eddie and the World Title,” he said.
"Winning the Triple Crown is one of the coolest things next to winning the World Title because the three events are at totally different waves.
"Each wave can be really big or really small, so you have almost every different type of surfing pushed into these three events, along with all the best surfers in the world.”