LA GRAVIERE, Hossegor/France (Tuesday, October 2, 2012) – Round 2 of the Quiksilver Pro France, Event No. 7 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), got underway this afternoon with the world's best surfers navigating the heaving four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) barrels at La Graviere for the opening seven heats of the round.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current ASP WCT No. 2, opened up this afternoon's action in sterling fashion against wildcard Wiggolly Dantas (BRA). The stylish natural-footer threaded barrels on both his backhand and forehand to net the highest score of the round, an 18.27 out of a possible 20 to advance directly to Round 3.
"I was just looking for a couple corners, and a couple of waves that were like medium scores, so to to find a couple of good ones and get good scores is unreal," Parkinson said. "I only rode it (a broken board early in the heat) once before I broke it. I just got slammed paddling out and it sort of had a buckle in it, and I knew as soon as I pulled into that first barrel that if I didn't make it, the board was going to snap for sure. I jumped on a better one and it felt really good."
Parkinson will battle Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 26, in Round 3 when competition resumes.
John John Florence (HAW), 19, current ASP WCT No. 4, bested fellow Hawaiian Dusty Payne (HAW) 23, comfortably pulling into barrels and executing crowd-pleasing aerials to advance directly to Round 3.
"It was definitely scary (surfing in the elimination Round 2)," Florence stated. "Just going into Round 2 is scary, and coming up against Dusty (Payne) in waves like this, big barrels, I was pretty nervous throughout the whole heat cause all he (Payne) needed was a 7 and he could get that in his sleep."
A standout in the powerful waves of Hawaii's North Shore, Florence is well-adjusted to the sand-dredging shorebreaks of La Graviere and selected the best opportunities from this afternoon's shifting peaks. With a second round win under his belt, Florence will attempt to consolidate on an already-strong year when competition resumes.
"It's really hard to tell which ones are good," Florence said. "I kept pulling in and kept getting lipped on the head and stuff. I'm just going to rest now for tomorrow, hopefully the waves are still fun in the morning."
John John will take on veteran Taylor Knox (USA), 41, when competition resumes.
While a number of top seeds performed well today, in amidst the wipeout and barrels were a number of dramatic upsets, none more so than Knox eliminating current ASP WCT No. 5 Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, in their Round 2 clash. After a slow start, Knox took command of the heat with two consecutive long righthanders to put De Souza in a complicated combination situation.
"It was great out there," Knox said "It's just nice to surf such good conditions. I was so stoked. C.J. (Hobgood) had a really good quote about here, he said 'if you're standing on the beach and the waves look perfect, you've already missed it' so we got out there and it was a little funky but turned perfect so hopefully it stays great for for the rest of the day."
Despite the Brazilian's best efforts to come back into the hunt with an incredible 9.77 in the dying moments, time played in Knox's advantage and the Californian ultimately advanced through to Round 3.
"I got slammed pretty good a couple of times," Knox said. "I really didn't go far from the beach and I got really held down pretty long, but it was a pretty good beating though, it feels good."
Joining Knox in a big Round 2 win was 2012 ASP WCT rookie Kolohe Andino (USA), 18. The young Californian, who is coming off a three-month injury sideline, ultimately found the high-scoring wave in a challenging affair with current ASP WCT No. 7 Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, to secure his first win since injury.
"Josh (Kerr) is one of the best guys out here in these conditions so I just had a plan to go out and hunt good tubes because I was certain he would get some," Andino said. "I took some beatings out there. It's super gnarly, but I managed to get a pretty clean right and come out while Josh struggled to find a rhythm. Pumped to get through a heat again and hope I can just keep going."
Andino will take on perennial ASP World Title contender Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, in Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro France.
Adding to the drama of the afternoon was the very real element of danger in the shallow conditions and Jeremy Flores (FRA), 24, local standout and current ASP WCT No. 8, suffered a horrific wipeout in his Round 2 bout against Yadin Nicol (AUS), 26. Despite Nicol free-falling into a phenomenal barrel for the first Perfect 10 of the event, a battered Flores would ultimately paddle back into the lineup to challenge the Australian and hold on for the win.
"Waves are fun but I got a two-wave hold down - I don't think that's ever happened to me in my whole life." Flores said. "I mean, I've surfed big waves and that, but after that wipeout (which wasn't that bad), the wave just held me down. I guess I'm pretty lucky that he didn't get the second score, but for once I got lucky in a heat and I'll take it."
Flores has drawn Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, when competition resumes.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, current ASP WCT No. 11, punctuated the afternoon by securing the second Perfect 10 of the event for an incredible deep forehand barrel.
"The 10 felt really good," Wilson said. "I spent the first quarter of that heat getting smashed. I got smashed on my first wave and then probably got smashed by fifteen more trying to go back out. As soon as that rip kind of cleared out of the line-up we saw some really good waves come through and yeah I was really happy to get that first one, get that 10 and then it up. Melling caught a couple too, he just was unlucky and fell off but it was cool to surf a heat like that coming to France. It's so much fun."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am to assess conditions for a possible 8:15am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, up against Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 30, in Heat 8 of Round 2.
Highlights from the Quiksilver Pro France will be available via quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2012/
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.27 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 2.66
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.00 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.40
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.80 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.44
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.10 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 4.90
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.50 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.00
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.76 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.90
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.77 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 4.30
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 12: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)