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Caroline Marks and John John Florence Win Surf City El Salvador Pro

Caroline Marks Claims Back-to-Back Victories in El Salvador; John John Florence Scores Perfect 10 En Route to Event Win; Gabriela Bryan Pushes Progression To Earn Second-Place Result

10/Jun/2024 - WSL

PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad, El Salvador (Sunday, June 9, 2024) - Today, Caroline Marks (USA) and John John Florence (HAW) won the Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona, Stop No. 7 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT). Marks and Florence emerged as the best of a stacked field in the three-to-four-foot waves at El Salvador’s Punta Roca, also known as La Punta or Punta Chilama. 

Today’s results also affected the World Rankings seeing a shuffle within the Top 5 as Florence secured his place into the WSL Finals, and Marks moved to World No. 2 as she takes another step closer to defending her World Title. Brisa Hennessy (CRC) moves to No. 3, with Molly Picklum (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) moving down one place but still among the Top 5. Jack Robinson (AUS) moved to No. 2, with Griffin Colapinto (USA), Ethan Ewing (AUS), and Jordy Smith (RSA) holding the remaining Top 5 spots. 

Caroline Marks Claims Back-to-Back Victories in El Salvador

In 2023, Caroline Marks’ (USA) victory here catapulted her World Title dream back into reality before being crowned the 2023 WSL Champion. A successful run throughout the week in El Salvador returned Marks, 22, to the top of the podium for back-to-back wins at Punta Roca. Marks now sits just behind fellow American Caitlin Simmers on the rankings. Marks has two more events to hold her Top 5 position for the opportunity to defend her World Title. 

“That feels really good, and El Salvador is always so good to me," said Marks. "It kickstarted my campaign to win the World Title last year. I love Punta Roca. It was also really cool to have a Final with Gabby [Bryan]. She’s a really good friend of mine on Tour, and winning feels good. I’m really happy. That’s why I’m here. I want to win as many World Titles as I can, and I’m super aware of how hard it is to get one, but I just need to focus on myself and my performances. I would absolutely love to go back-to-back to be the World Champion, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy this.”

The Final heated up right away with Marks unleashing her signature backhand power to accrue a 7.00 (out of a possible 10) over 2022 Rookie of the Year Gabriela Bryan (HAW). A quick backup put Marks firmly in the lead, with Bryan’s minimal score line requiring a near-perfect 9.70 to overtake the defending event victor, Marks. Reigning WSL Champion Marks then utilized her priority to secure the best score heat with a 7.40 at the 14-minute mark, and put Bryan into a combination situation, meaning she needed two new scores to match Marks. 

But, Bryan showed her resilience and got out of the combination situation before nearly taking the lead from Marks in the final moments, falling just 0.34 short of her requirement. 

“The waves were amazing since the first day I got here,” said Marks. “Thank you, Surf City, for being so welcoming and all the fans and Punta Roca for providing all the waves. It was a dream week for me. It feels good to be back in winning form, and it sets me up really nicely for the rest of the year. I want to be back in the Finals.”

Gabriela Bryan Pushes Progression To Earn Second-Place Result

22-year-old Gabriela Bryan (HAW) put on a dominant showing throughout her run to the Final. The Kauai, Hawaii, competitor, Bryan, overpowered World Title contender Molly Picklum (AUS) in their Quarterfinal before Bryan returned to the water today and took down current World No. 1 Caitlin Simmers (USA). Though Bryan’s last attempt to take the podium fell under half a point short, she moves to Rio with renewed vigor. Bryan is knocking on the door of the WSL Final 5, now sitting at World No. 6. 

“It feels super good, especially to back it up after Margaret River,” said Bryan. “I had a great week surfing insane waves with the girls and thank you to everyone for welcoming us. Congratulations to Caroline on an awesome Final. She’s been ripping, and it was super special to share that with her.”

John John Florence Scores Perfect 10 En Route to First CT Victory Since the Pipe in 2020

John John Florence (HAW) could not be stopped throughout this competition. Florence added another Perfect 10 to his list of running accolades in the Semifinals before winning his ninth CT event. Florence is now tied for the most Perfect 10-point rides, marking his 18th Perfect 10 on the CT. 

Florence’s win today secures his place in the WSL Final 5. The two-time WSL Champion hasn’t competed in the WSL Finals since its inception and looks to retain the No. 1 spot heading to Lower Trestles. He currently holds a 10,740-point lead over No. 2 Jack Robinson (AUS). 

“That’s for Darwin, oh my god, I’m so stoked,” said Florence, dedicating the win to his new-born son. “I’m just super stoked to win an event. In the end, I was thinking not another second, I gotta get the win in this one then, when he [Yaog Dora] got that 9, I just thought, 'Oh no, there’s going to be sets,' but then it just went flat. I can’t believe it. I’m just feeling so good with where I’m at right now, my headspace, everything. My wife back home, my wife and my son, my mom and brothers, just everyone. I can’t believe it.”

The men’s Final witnessed more jaw-dropping progression from both Florence and Yago Dora (BRA), with Florence taking command early to post a 16.33 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Florence’s wave selection kept him in form, but Dora fired back with more of his explosive tendencies and soared to a near-perfect 9.77 (out of a possible 10) under priority. The action-packed start slowed as conditions went silent heading into the final horn, and Florence emerged victorious for the first time since winning the CT at Pipeline in 2020.

“That was tough and I got a little lucky in the end with it going flat,” said Florence. “I think I just feel light, and I feel good. My wife and I have our son, and it’s just been such a good year. Coming into the year, there’s so much going on: having a baby, the Olympics, the Tour, and everything. It was a lot, but it’s just been so much fun and better than I could’ve imagined. This will be my first time making it to the WSL Finals, but there’s still work to be done, and I want to be leading going into it and have the best chance possible.”

Yago Dora Provides Aerial Masterclass Toward Runner-up Finish

Yago Dora’s incredible performance in the Semifinals bested three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in dominant form. The now No. 8 Dora posted a near-perfect 9.33 and an excellent 8.33 to leave Medina chasing a combination situation for the majority of the heat.

“Thank you for everything, El Salvador, and for being here supporting me,” said Dora. “It was incredible. I’m really happy, this was a great event for me. I was feeling like I was going to win it, but then John [Florence] came up super strong, and I was just missing another wave in the end. I’m still proud of myself and the performance I put on. I want to thank my girlfriend and Jack [Robinson], Brisa [Hennessy], and Katie [Hennessy]. We had a lot of fun and let’s keep building on this.”

Medina has gained major ground in the last two events. Medina’s 3rd place finish vaults him up to No. 6 on the rankings, pushing him a step closer to the WSL Final 5. Medina’s signature surge in the back half of the season could get a major boost in his home country of Brazil before concluding the season in Fiji. 

WSL CT Leaderboard Rankings Shift After Finals Day in El Salvador 

The 2024 WSL Championship Tour uses a leaderboard system and rankings points for the nine ‘regular-season’ CT competitions. The tenth event on the Tour is the Lexus WSL Finals, the one-day, winner-take-all competition to decide the undisputed World Champions. As only the Top 5 men and Top 5 women on the CT rankings will compete in the WSL Finals, the points from the Surf City El Salvador Pro and the next two CT competitions in Rio and Fiji will be critical for each surfer’s World Title aspirations. 

Caity Simmers (USA) is back to World No. 1 following her performance this week in El Salvador. Simmers placed in Equal 3rd after losing to Bryan but continued to showcase her progressive surfing with a fin-release hammer on the buzzer in Semifinal 1. Unfortunately, it fell just 0.40 shy of the requirement. Simmers will now head to the VIVO Rio Pro wearing the yellow Leader jersey to continue to fight for a spot in the WSL Final 5 and the top seed for the Lexus WSL Finals. 

Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) lost in the Semifinals to Marks and earned a third-place finish. This placing moves her to No. 7 on the rankings. Should she repeat the success from El Salvador in Rio and Fiji, Sakura Johnson could be vying for the World Title in September. 

Earlier today, Dora eliminated good friend Jack Robinson (AUS) in Quarterfinal 2. Robinson’s brilliant run helped him jump one spot and heads into the VIVO Rio Pro as World No. 2, though still nearly 11,000 points behind Florence. 

Crosby Colapinto (USA) was the sole 2024 CT Rookie left in the draw today but was dispatched by eventual winner Florence. This year’s men’s Rookie of the Year race will be between Colapinto and Cole Houshmand (USA). Today’s result gives Colapinto a bigger lead as he jumps to World No. 10, with Houshmand holding on to No. 13. 

Joao Chianca (BRA) returned to the CT for the first time this year as the event wildcard. Despite his elimination at the hands of Medina in Quarterfinal 1, the 23-year-old showed that he’s in solid form. He will return to full-time competition on the CT as the 2025 WSL Season Wildcard. 

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Final Results:

1 - Caroline Marks (USA) 14.80 

2 - Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 14.46

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Final Results:

1 - John John Florence (HAW) 16.33

2 - Yago Dora (BRA) 14.44

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Women’s Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 13.50 DEF. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 13.10

HEAT 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 13.77 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 11.10

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Yago Dora (BRA) 17.66 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.23

HEAT 2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.50 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 14.43

Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona Men’s Quarterfinal Results:

HEAT 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.27 DEF. Joao Chianca (BRA) 10.24

HEAT 2: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.54 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.50

HEAT 3: John John Florence (HAW) 15.17 DEF. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 9.67

HEAT 4: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 15.17 DEF. Jordy Smith (RSA) 13.70