The third day of the Quiksilver Pro France at La Graviere saw competitors at the event trimmed from a field of 32 down to 12 as the contest completed the second and third rounds in fun head-high sets.
Amid some of the most consistent conditions of the event, Kelly Slater posted the day's highest heat score with a 16.9 when he upended the event's wildcard, Moroccan surfer Ramzi Boukhiam, with a blistering backhand performance.
"I was nervous before the heat because there have been a few that have been slow and guys haven't been getting waves," Slater said to the ASP. "I started loosening up there at the end. With the tide changing, I was somewhat confident that the lefts would begin offering better scoring opportunities and that's where I got my two best waves."
In what was billed as one of the most anticipated match-ups of the event, Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith faced off in their third-round heat. With both surfers touted as some of the most progressive on tour, the world was expecting fireworks when the duo entered the lineup. And although the heat didn't showcase the explosiveness and intensity we've seen from the two prodigies in the past, they still managed to set the French sandbars ablaze.
From the outset of the heat, Jordy looked to take control as he linked a slew of solid scores on the rights, seamlessly mixing power with finesse to the tune of a 7.83 on his opening ride. After drawing first blood, Jordy quickly backed up the wave with a similar ride that earned him a 6.3 and a commanding lead. And although he struggled to answer back immediately, in the last quarter of their match-up, Dane dropped the highest score of the heat with an inverted reverse that led into a series of solid turns. But in the end, Jordy narrowly edged out Dane to take the win.
"There were a few waves out there but the tide got a little bit high so it was inconsistent," Smith said to the ASP. "I'm pretty stoked right now. There are some pretty good ramps and I think Dane found one in the heat. I just tried to find some good waves and put in some good scores early. It was pretty relaxed out there, we've been surfing together all week so it was just another surf for us."
In what was surely the upset of the day, Mick Fanning, who's won the Quik Pro France three times, fell victim in his lackluster Round 3 heat against Taylor Knox. For Fanning, the loss was painful to say the least.
On several occasions throughout the day, the judges caused many spectators an competitors to raise an eyebrow at their scoring. At the forefront of the controversy stood Taj Burrow and Travis Logie’s heat. Although Taj was surfing as crisp as ever, Travis was able to demolish the inside lefts and looked to take control of the heat. But in the dying minutes, Taj dropped a 7.47 with just two turns to take the heat win. And although it was a well-surfed wave, the 7.47 felt like a lofty score to many on the beach. Even the commentators were under the impression that Logie had taken the heat. Understandably, Logie was unnerved by the result and posted his frustration with the call on Twitter.
“That was the worst call of my career,” posted Travis, “I’m seriously over this sport, just watched the footage. I’m gutted. How do you stay positive after that?”
In a bit of drama, France's own Jeremy Flores was on pace to demolish Australia's Kai Otton in their Round 3 heat when the Frenchman reinjured his ankle. Clearly in pain, Flores was forced to come in prior to the end of the heat. Fortunately, the scores he accumulated before his injury were enough to see him through the heat. The status of Jeremy's ankle injury is not immediately known, but if he's able to compete, he'll be surfing against Taylor Knox and Michel Bourez in the non-elimination fourth round.
We're just a few rounds shy of crowning a new Quik Pro champion. Stay locked to Surfermag.com for all of the highlights as the World Tour makes their march through Europe.
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.70 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.60
Heat 10: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.53 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 6.50
Heat 11: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.76 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 7.67
Heat 12: Kieren Perrow (AUS) def. Chris Davidson (AUS)
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 9.77 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6.50
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.76 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.60
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.34 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.00
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.83 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.26
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.56 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.96
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.90 def. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 6.90
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.16 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.83
Heat 8: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.60 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.76
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.33 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.07
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.47 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.34
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.00 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.34
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.17 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 8.57