At Lowers, surfers were almost guaranteed to find two nice waves to ride in their heats; in France, it has been a challenge to find even one. Not that the surf has been bad, it’s just been challenging. And when the ocean brings these types of conditions, more often than not, it unfortunately comes down to what waves you catch.
Today AI opened up his heat by masterfully coming from behind the crumble and into a draining pit for a 9.07. It was, up until then, the wave of the comp. Up against notorious underachiever Luke Munro—and considering that the average heat win total up to that point was around the 10-point mark—I (along with everyone else) expected that one wave to pretty much seal the win for AI. The remainder of the heat was a very different story. With both surfers in the same spot in the lineup, AI never found another score. Munro found three great waves in the second half of the heat—the best one being a 9.77 (even though it was worth 20 points given the day’s conditions).
AI hasn’t been the only wave-starved surfer of the event either. I’m no statistician, but I’d be willing to bet this event has seen the lowest total heat scores of the year: Powers with 2.33, Ross with 3.06, Knox with 2.24, Kling with 1.96, Slater with 4.00, and Martinez with 5.07. And with many others registering single-digit totals after 30 minutes of surfing, you better believe it’s hard to find a wave out there. Bede, Adriano, and Bobby would surely agree after suffering second-round losses in the first major upsets of the Quiksilver Pro.
Round Three will, hopefully for everyone, start at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning. Stacked with good match-ups, there should be a much higher level of surfing to watch. Kelly vs. Julian looks to be the rematch Kelly’s been waiting for ever since his loss at Snapper in 2009 to Julian. And as if Kelly needs to look for any extra motivation to perform right now, he will have plenty extra to draw from when he gets unleashed in the French surf tomorrow in hopes of getting even with Julian. Hopefully the number of quality waves coming through tomorrow goes up because I’m ready to start seeing the best surfing win heats instead of the best wave-catching deciding the winner as we’ve seen thus far.