SURF: 2 to 3 feet and marginal
EVENTS HELD: Round One, Heats 1-3
NATURE’S CALL: Se la vie
PREDICTED: According to surf forecaster Dane Reynolds: “Offshore and 6 feet by Monday.”“What…the contest is…on?” After a slow, lazy morning he was sure would turn into another off day, Tim Curran suddenly had to switch into comp mode. How’s my wax? Do I have the right leash? What suit do I wear?A frantic jog up to the northernmost setup at the Quik Pro France, a sandbar known as “Le Gardian”, and Curran joined Taj Burrow and Toby Martin for the event’s first heat. He took apart a couple of small, semi-walled rights, but Burrow’s two little tubes were better. Just like that, Curran’s in the Loser’s Round.That’s the thing about the Quik Pro France. With three different scaffolding setups along Hossegor’s bountiful sandbars, the competitors almost never know when — or if — they’ll be called to duty. As Taylor Knox says, “Welcome to France; the place where you gotta nap with one eye open.”Today was a perfect example. Friday’s opening-day greeting began with a wet, blustery raspberry: stiff onshores, steady drizzle and a dropping swell. As legendary French photographer Sylvain Cazenave observed, “This has been the best fall in a long time. Two days ago, guys were towing in out here. But then the contest comes and the waves go bye-bye.”Still, the fading swell was enough to entice contest director Rod Brooks to give it a shot. Le Gardian, named after some old horse stables in the neighborhood, is the designated “small wave” sandbar at the Quik Pro, and the light offshores, clear skies and wobbly, righthand racers off the outside sandbar proved too tempting to pass up. Halfway through Heat Three, they knew they had made the wrong call. “We’ll be taking a break after this heat and reconvening at 4 p.m.,” announced John Shimooka [translation: you can leave, but don’t go too far!] So far this year, there’s one surfer who’s been on the short end of all those “questionable conditions” calls. He had to trudge through dead-low tide Restaurants, deal with marginal Bells after having his heat called back right before it hit the water. In his Loser’s Round defeat at Lowers against Luke Egan, he caught only one wave, then watched set after set pour through after the buzzer.Bruce Irons hasn’t gotten any gifts from Mother Ocean so far his rookie year, which is why he didn’t look shocked during a deteriorating Heat Three, sitting out the back and needing a 4 something to take the lead from Occy. But if there’s one thing he’s learned through all of these tests, it’s to let it flow. Forcing things has never worked for Bruce, so he didn’t stress. He sat out the back, thought about the crme broule he had for dessert the night before, and waited for a sign from the ocean. A sign to show him it’d all work out eventually.With 10 seconds remaining, that sign came. A chest, high, dumpy right. One carve, a quick speed arc and a dump snap. Enough for a 5 something and a golden ticket out of the Loser’s Round.Just like that, Bruce is back on track.— Evan SlaterRESULTS
Round One, Heats 1-3
Heat One
1.Taj Burrow
2.Tim Curran
3.Toby MartinHeat Two
1.Philip MacDonald
2.Beau Emerton
3.Luke EganHeat Three
1.Bruce Irons
2.Mark Occhilupo
3.Darren O’Rafferty