How’s this for variety: after 18 events in the 2017 ‘CT season (nine for the men and nine for the women) we’ve seen 17 different winners raise first place trophies on the podium. Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore are the two newest names in that group after winning the Quiksilver Pro France and Roxy Pro France today in clean, overhead conditions at Hossegor.
With their victories, the two broke into the Top-5 in the rankings — Medina rose to No.3 behind Jordy Smith and new No.1 John Florence, and Carissa jumped to No.4 heading into the last event of the season at Honolua Bay, behind World No.1 Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, and Courtney Conlogue.
The Women’s Final between Moore and Lakey Peterson came after a two-hour morning delay to wait for the swell to fill in. The tide sucked away and the sets stacked up when Moore and Peterson paddled out, but La Graviere’s shifty peaks made the two work for the takeoff zone, which yo-yo’d the Finals-Day competitors across the beach. Freesurfers significantly to the north in the lower tide gave perspective on camera for how mobile the competitors needed to be.
Moore was aggressive from the beginning of the heat, choosing waves early and unloading on the outside in a 9.2-score sequence, where she linked powerful frontside carves and snaps through the end section. Peterson waited almost 10 minutes for her first wave, a runaway set that left her behind. Soon, with 15 minutes to go, Carissa had Lakey comboed.
Once Peterson escaped the combo after an 8.27 score at the 10-minute mark, full of strong carves down into the bowl, the challenge was then for her to lure Moore out of priority. She paddled closer to Moore, later trying to sell her on a wave with four minutes left, but Moore wouldn’t bite. Moore did take a set with two minutes left, thought it offered no help in her score, and the high volume shorebreak meant that Moore had no time to paddle back out. Lakey was all by herself with 90 seconds left. She needed an 8.17.
Peterson took an early set that unfortunately amounted to little, erasing the opportunity of an excellent-range score. The horn sounded, and Carissa Moore, who unthinkably has not yet won a ‘CT event this year, won her second-straight Roxy Pro title.
“I'm so stoked,” Moore told Rosy Hodge during her post-heat interview. “I couldn't ask for better conditions here. It's been a long time since I've won an event. There's no words to describe the feeling.”
The Men’s Final would be decided by Medina, last year’s Quik Pro runner-up to Keanu Asing, and Sebastian Zietz, who made his first-ever France final. Neither surfer typically wastes much time to chase scores, and the two stuck to old habits today, as sets pulsed through and the pair’s wave count ramped up. The bottom dropped out of the first few waves, leading to some trap-door foamballs (Medina had already snapped two boards headed into the Final). 10 minutes in, the score was still slightly low, with Medina leading SeaBass, 9.84 to 7.00.
But Medina distanced himself after an 8.17 score at the halfway mark, and he didn’t look back. His bottom-turn to top-turn combinations on his backhand fluid, the former world champ snapped vertical at the lip over and over. Just like that, SeaBass needed two new waves with 15 minutes left. The Kauain did show a spark after releasing a big layback blowtail a a few minutes later, but his recovery was shaky, and he never quite found the end section he needed throughout the Final to throw a massive maneuver. Medina kept his lead, and he won the Quik Pro title by a score of 16.00 to 9.30.
“It feels so good to win an event,” Medina told Rosy Hodge after the heat. “This is a really special place for me. I love coming here. I’m so, so stoked. It’s been a great event this year, and we’ve had really good waves. I’m not even thinking about the World Title or the rankings. I just wanted a win. I promised to myself I had to win one event this year, and it feels so good now I’ve done it.”
The men have a quick turnaround before the year’s penultimate event, the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal in Peniche. The women are officially through with the European leg of the Tour and now have over a month before the waiting period of the Maui Women’s Pro.