Adrian Buchan Wins The 2008 Quiksilver Pro France

The script couldn't have been set up any better. Kelly Slater, in the midst of the most idyllic and storybook year of his career, was ready to win a contest put on by his main sponsor and also clinch a 9th world title at the beach where he won his first world tour victory back in 1992. To quote webcast commentator, Todd Kline, "Champagne was on ice and chicks were screaming." Just as he did two weeks ago at Trestles, Kelly fell behind against an Aussie opponent (Ace Buchan) but conjured up a miracle last wave as time was running out. The crowd at the water's edge was electric. "Thees ees zit. Eee ess going to do eet ear," they said. He drew left, banked it once off the top, came off the bottom, lifted into the air…landed…and got stuck in the whitewater.

Ace wins. C'la vie.

And Ace deserved it. He got up onstage afterward and thrilled the crowd by speaking fluent French and saying that he'd like to someday live here.

It was the first Aussie win of the year (that it came this late has got to be a record) and the boys are no doubt skulling massive schooners at Caf de Paris right now. Buchan's previous best result had been a quarterfinal but he took down the form surfers of the event, Kelly and Dane Reynolds, with fast, polished and gutty surfing in very difficult conditions.

Truth be told, Kelly was pretty lucky to have made it to the final. His semi against a fired up Adriano De Souza was a corker and came down to a wave exchange at the buzzer. Kelly got the nod but a frothing pack of hot young surfers in town for tomorrow's King of the Groms comp cried foul as they watched the replays backstage.

A drained Kelly, who was ready for about five straight months of golf, is now faced with having to go to Mundaka next week – his least favorite event on tour. The task at hand for him there though is pretty simple. If he finishes 9th or better (nice synergy, huh?) he wins the title no matter what anyone else does. Taj was all but knocked out of the running when Dane combo-ed him in Round 4. Both he or Mick Fanning have to win in Mundaka and Kelly has to lose before Round 4 in order for the race to go to Brazil.

In other words, this thing's a done deal, but for now, the champagne stays on ice and the chicks have stopped screaming.

Ace’s winning form in the final


(1st advances to Quarters; 2nd finishes =9th)

Heat 1: Adriano de Souza def. Dayyan Neve
Heat 2: Bobby Martinez def. Ben Dunn
Heat 3: Mick Campbell def. Luke Stedman
Heat 4: Kelly Slater def. Taylor Knox
Heat 5: Dane Reynolds def. Taj Burrow
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan def. Rodrigo Dornelles
Heat 7: Michel Bourez def. Kieren Perrow
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood def. {{{CJ}}} Hobgood

(1st advances to Semifinals; 2nd finishes =5th)

Heat 1: Adriano de Souza def. Bobby Martinez
Heat 2: Kelly Slater def. Michael Campbell
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan def. Dane Reynolds
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood def. Michel Bourez

(1st advances to Final; 2nd finishes =3rd)

Heat 1: Kelly Slater def. Adriano de Souza
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan def. Damien Hobgood

(1st wins $US 30,000; 2nd wins $US 16,000)

Adrian Buchan def. Kelly Slater