LA GRAVIERE, Hossegor/France (Wednesday, October 3, 2012) - Event No. 7 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France, bore witness to monstrous shake-ups in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title today as several Australian contenders were eliminated from competition in shifting three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at La Graviere.
Dane Reynolds (USA), 27, former ASP WCT competitor and wildcard into the Quiksilver Pro France, caused the upset of the event this afternoon, eliminating current ASP WCT No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, in Round 3 of competition.
"That was a tough heat," Reynolds said. "I was nervous before the heat coming up against Mick (Fanning) in kind of tense conditions. The peaks are all over the place and unfortunately for Mick (Fanning) he was out of rhythm and broke his board. It's not easy out there. There's obviously not pressure on myself to get a result here like Mick, but I still want to perform and surf well."
Despite the at-times trying conditions, Reynolds secured the fourth Perfect 10 of the event for an incredible free-fall drop on his forehand, navigating through several critical sections and exiting to the raucous applause of thousands on the beach.
"There are better waves out there than my 10," Reynolds said. "Right towards the end, I was only 10 feet from a much better wave than that, but they're extremely difficult to find. I feel really fortunate to have even found little head dips out there because it's really challenging."
Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, 2012 ASP WCT rookie, scored another major upset today, eliminating perennial ASP World Title threat and current ASP WCT No. 6 Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, from Quiksilver Pro France in Round 3 of competition.
"I'm really stoked to get through that heat," Andino said. "Taj (Burrow) has been one of my favorite surfers for so long and he's so deadly in these conditions. I was really lucky that a backup score didn't come to him and I was able to find that pretty good one at the end. The fourth round is the best of my year so far so I'm just excited to keep going."
Miguel Pupo (AUS), 20, took out the third big Australian scalp today with last minute heroics against current ASP WCT No. 11 Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, in a hotly-contested Round 3 bout. Wilson opened up his account with a near-perfect 9.87 out of a possible 10 for an impressive backhand barrel, but was unable to overtake a late charge from the Brazilian goofy-footer.
"I'm super thankful that wave came through," Pupo said. "The conditions are really fun and there are good barrels out there. Julian (Wilson) had that really good one, but couldn't find a second one. I had a pretty okay first one and then got that good right at the end. Really stoked to get through and hopefully the barrels keep on coming."
While Australia suffered major casualties today in the campaign for the Quiksilver Pro France, current ASP WCT No. 2 Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, was not one of them. Parkinson survived a low-scoring affair against Californian Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 26, in Round 3.
"They're really tricky conditions," Parkinson said. "I saw Dane (Reynolds) get a 10 and I wanted to try and find one like that, but I figured every other heat has been quite low scoring. So if you get a 7, it's like a 9, and you get a 3 or a 4, the rest of the heat I just played defense trying to keep him off anything. It was a tricky heat with not a lot of waves, and a lot of paddling. It doesn't matter in these conditions who you draw - anyone can beat anybody."
When competition resumes, up first will be Owen Wright (AUS), 22, against Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 30, in Heat
Highlights from the Quiksilver Pro France will be available via quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2012/
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QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 8: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.67 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.93
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.33 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 1.83
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.17 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.37
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 19.33 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.50
Heat 12: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.76 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.40
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 15.17 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.43
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.40 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.97
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.27 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.07
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.84 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.50
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.60 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 5.50
Heat 6: Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.50 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 2.60
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.07 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 6.60
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.76 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.70
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)