Those photos you see above? They’re lying to your face. The final day of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro France was not the best day ever. It was good, but it was good like the history of Bob Dylan’s live shows — spikes of fascinating perfection with a whole lot of grumbly confusion in between. No, the waves today were not for everybody. But neither is the podium. And by way of rhythm, talent, luck or a combination of all three, some guys seemed to have the best feet for today’s glass slipper… Well, it was 10-foot. So let’s just call it a boot.
The day started with a duo of Quarterfinal duels. First, Miguel Pupo and Jadson Andre starred in the I’m kind of surprised but I really shouldn’t be first heat of the morning. They went tit-for-tat, tat-for-tit and 5.50-for-4.33 until Jadson was declared the winner.
Then came the second most important heat of the day: Jordy Smith VS Kelly Slater VS Gabriel Medina, who wasn’t really in the heat but can practically taste the world title from here. Jordy is still all hopped up from a win at Lowers and surfing like it. Kelly is Kelly, but Kelly wasn’t really Kelly in this heat and got done up by Jordy’s 7.33 — the judges sure do admire that turn of his. After the heat, a not-smiling Slater stayed in the water and drifted… That 12th world title is a long way’s away.
Then, semis. John John Florence and Josh Kerr kicked us off. John kicked way harder with 15 and a half hard-earned points. And out came Jordy Smith with Jadson Andre. Would Jordy set up a date with John John for a Hurley Pro rematch? Absolutely not! Jadson mauled Jordy with some of the event’s best surfing at Jordy — he’s a tenacious son of a bitch — and his 16.67 points were the day’s highest. As the final horn sounded, a gust of wind from the Brazilian storm took the red, white and blue hat with an eagle strangling a cobra and the words “MANIFEST DESTINY” embroidered on it right off my head.
John John Florence and Jadson Andre. An unlikely pair, but predictability has no place in good surfing. John started early with a 7.17 while Jadson dove straight into a heat-long cycle of catching the worst waves and wearing the best ones on the head. Resilient though, that Jadson. He truly never gave up — not even when John dropped an 8.83 towards the end of the heat. It was only when he proclaimed “See everyone at the Rock Food!” during the award ceremony that he truly admitted defeat. My bet is that defeat tastes a lot like Cabernet. And for John? Getting a 3rd, a 2nd and now a 1st in three consecutive events must not feel so bad. Note to John: Next time you decide to put together a World Title-contending string of results, start earlier.
They say that tomorrow…
Hossegor will be back to its lazy old self as the pros, team managers, photographers, creators, innovators, enthusiasts, board caddies, videographers, luminaries and portly online editors of the world vacate to Portugal. The Cascais Prime starts on Tuesday. Best of luck to the poor saps out there trying to qualify (I’m looking at you, Dunphy) with guys like Jordy Smith in the draw. —Brendan Buckley
Quiksilver Pro France Final Results:
1 -John John Florence (HAW) 16.00
2 -Jadson Andre (BRA) 4.57
Quiksilver Pro France Semifinal Results (1st Advances to Finals, 2nd Finishes Equal 3rd):
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 15.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.60
SF 2: Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.67 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.84
Quiksilver Pro France Remaining Quarterfinal Results (1st Advances to Semifinals, 2nd Finishes Equal 5th):
QF 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.50 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.26
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.50
ASP WCT Top 5 (after Quiksilver Pro France):
1. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 56,550 pts
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 50,050 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 43,600 pts
4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 43,100 pts
5. John John Florence (HAW) 41,950 pts