Florence came back with a late charge that included a near-perfect 9.2-point ride with a reverse 360 air, only to see Zietz answer back with a 9.43.
Florence knows he has positioned himself right where he needs to be to defend his Triple Crown title. With world title pressure far behind him, and reaping the benefits of experience that comes from a full year of elite level competition, the 20-year-old exudes quiet confidence and total satisfaction with his level of performance.
"I'm just so happy for (Sebastian) to win and it looks like he's going to be on tour next year," said Florence. "It's always good to have another Hawaiian on tour, especially someone like him who's always positive and happy and making everyone laugh.
"I feel like each year I learn more and more on the tour with these older guys. Each heat I go into I learn something new and every time I lose it's just another learning point, really. You just can't make mistakes against those guys or you're gonna lose."
On being in position to defend his Vans Triple Crown title that offers the bonus $100,000 this year: "You know, the extra money is always good, you're really stoked on that, but I think the prestige of actually winning the Triple Crown is really the main thing."