The Prince Of TidesCONDITIONS: 3-4 backlight hollow rights
HEATS HELD: Heats 1-6 of Round 1
NATURE'S CALL: Should be pumping tomorrow
PREDICTIONS: Get ready, big throaty barrels are coming
Bobby Martinez snagged a gem at the final horn to win his Round 1 heat
It's France, it's September, blue skies, offshore winds, pulsing swell, topless girls on the beach…and brutal tide swings. A cold morning dawned here today with lines of new swell fanning into the Bay of Biscay. A nicely organized sandbar at La Graviere was dishing out rifling rights and the Quiksilver Pro France looked ready for an early start. Not so fast. When the tide moved in, the waves abruptly stopped and the wait was on for it to drop. A 2:30pm call became a 3, then a 4 and finally a 4:30. Where else in the world but France would you start a contest during happy hour?
And so we began. By that point the wind had shifted slightly sideshore, but the waves were back and the heats were on.
Timmy Reyes surfed his first heat in nearly a year after suffering a busted knee and was going for broke on every turn. Unfortunately for him, he was nipped by South African Ricky Basnett and will have to surf in round 2. "My knee felt good," he said afterward. "But I wished they hadn't started the contest because tomorrow's going to have tons of barrels." Actually, they started coming in the next heat as Bobby Martinez got a long dry one at the end of his heat to edge an in-form Occy. During heat five the blinding afternoon glare set in making it nearly impossible to see the colors of the surfers' jersey and to judge the quality of their turns. Cory Lopez found that out when his last wave was not even seen by the panel. "He got a barrel and two turns and the judges didn't even see it," said Bruce Irons. Lopez needed a 4.94 and the consensus of those who saw his wave said that it was at least a 6.5. A search for video evidence of the wave began and discussions of a re-surf quickly grew heated backstage. Cory, for his part, was having none of it. "A restart? That's bullshit," he said. "I won that heat." As of now, the situation remains unresolved.
What else? In the last heat, rookie Luke Munro nabbed two sick shacks in the rapidly improving conditions and relegated Joel Parkinson to Round 2. "I've gotten some good results on the WQS and I feel really relaxed now," said Munro. "That heat was a lot of fun."
In other news, Kelly Slater's experimental contest format ran yesterday in tiny waves in Biarritz. The idea is to eliminate the need for dreaded four man heats at the Pipeline Masters by running two man on man heats simultaneously. "The feedback I got was pretty positive," said Kelly. "We're going to have a vote on it on Sunday that will decide whether or not we use it at Pipe." Fred Patacchia liked the idea behind the experiment but wasn't sold on it. "It's definitely an interesting idea," he said. "No one likes 4 man heats at Pipe, but I think some of kinks need to be worked out before we use it. I'm also leery of using an experimental format at such an important event as Pipe. I think I'm going to have to vote against using it there."
Trent Munro shocked Californians Taylor Knox and Tim Reyes in Round 1