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On Dec. 20, Hawaii’s John John Florence emerged from the water at Pipe with his first Pipeline Masters win. The headline wasn’t so much that he won, but that he hadn’t won it up to that point. The long-awaited moment of victory itself was also marked by what it lacked: flanks of fans, as Florence couldn’t be chaired up the beach, thanks to social-distancing safety rules. Pandemic precautions, however, did not snuff out the significance.

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