The world title race took an interesting turn at the Quik Pro France today when current ratings leader Gabriel Medina lost his Quarterfinal heat against Josh Kerr while Kelly Slater, the current runner-up, advanced into the Quarters by dismantling Taj Burrow. While it’s too early to predict what the exact implications this will have on the title race, one thing was certain today: for Slater to keep his title hopes alive, Medina had to fall here while Slater advanced. When competition resumes, Slater will surf against Jordy Smith in the Quarters.
"With Gabriel (Medina) falling in the Quarters, I have an opportunity to carve a few heats into his current lead," Slater said. "It's really on me to make headway now and make it harder for him to clinch in Portugal and hopefully bring it to Pipeline. We have two more days to really pick the eyes out of the swell for the last five heats, so hopefully we see some good conditions again before the event finishes."
Although conditions for the day were nothing short of tricky, John Florence put on the most dominant showing at the event thus far, dropping a near-perfect 19.9 heat total—made up of 9.9- and 10-point barrel rides—against Mick Fanning in their Round 5 clash. Florence’s hot hand didn’t end there either. In the first Quarterfinal heat, he took down Kolohe Andino by posting another 9-point ride backed up with a 7. Kolohe finished the heat with a 9.7 total compared to Florence’s 16.
"The conditions today look amazing but can be all over the place out there," Florence said. "I was lucky to find a rhythm in my first heat and seemed to be on all the good ones. Great waves, but you can feel the conditions changing with the onshore wind. My Quarterfinal against Kolohe (Andino) was harder to find scoring waves." When the contests resumes, we’ll likely see the remainder of the final heats concluded and a winner crowned.
John John’s 10-Point Ride
John John’s 9.5
Josh Kerr’s Quarterfinal Victory Over Medina
Kelly Slater’s Round 5 Victory Over Taj Burrow