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THE NEXT KELLY

Eleven-time ASP world champ Kelly Slater is going strong at 43, but as the 2015 surfing season kicks off on Saturday with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event in Queensland, Australia, it's time to think about who will be the next face of the sport. Here's how the two most likely candidates stack up.
Author:

BOARD SHORTS

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JOHN JOHN FLORENCE

GABRIEL MEDINA

22/ Oahu, Hawaii

AGE/HOMETOWN

21/ Maresius, Brazil

JJF

NICKNAME

The Freak Kid

Third overall in '14; won the Quiksilver Pro

TOUR SUCCESS

World champ in '14; he and Slater only under-21 winners

Tops in Surfer magazine's '14 poll, ending Slater's 10-year run

POPULARITY

One of Brazil's biggest TV networks, GLOBO, started covering surfing last August

Barrels; first surfed Pipeline when he was five

SIGNATURE STRENGTH

Aerials; pulled off arguably the best backflip ever

"The pinnacle of surfing for me is to have a heat against this guy in big barrels."

KELLY SAYS

"He's passed every test. He doesn't really have a weakness."

Implied textual repartee with Taylor Swift

CONTROVERSY

Stormed off after finishing second at the '12 Rip Curl Pro

THEY SAID IT

"I guess I make them mad."

Brandon Dubinsky

Blue Jackets center after his scrap last Thursday with Sidney Crosby made him the only player in the NHL to fight both the Penguins' star and the Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin.

PHOTO

KIRSTIN SCHOLTZ/ASP/GETTY IMAGES (FLORENCE)

PHOTO

KELLY CESTARI/ASP/GETTY IMAGES (MEDINA)

PHOTO

MATTHEW PEARCE/ICON SPORTSWIRE (DUBINSKY)