2007 Quiksilver Pro France Day 2

On Like Donkey KongCONDITIONS: 6 foot chambres de amour (love shacks)
HEATS HELD: Heat 5 of Round 1, Heats 7-16 of Round 1 and Heats 1-6 of Round 2
NATURE'S CALL: More of the same tomorrow morning before the winds go bad
PREDICTIONS: Anybody's guess at this point

Occy’s timeless bottom turn

Just as it had to, just as it does every year, France turned on today. No need to wait till 4:30pm for a call today because once the tide filled in a little this morning, it was freakin' on. Picture 6 foot, offshore draining shacks exploding steps from the shore. Feel like taking a crack? Paddle out a little ways down from the comp and it's doing exactly the same thing. This is the only event on tour where spectators can make themselves a part of it all, whenever they want, if they've got the ability and the sack to do so. You know it's good when guys lose their heats, but keep their wetsuits on and run down the beach to grab a few more.

Despite an early Sunday wake up call, the boys showed up with their game faces on – none more so that Mick Fanning. Fresh after suffering his first setback of the year at Lowers (and then watching Slater capitalize on it), he left nothing to chance today. The barrel on his 10 was so deep and so long that he pumped through the whole thing at maximum speed. "That's it, that's the level," said Andy Irons backstage after seeing it. Fanning then put an exclamation point down by scoring a 9.43 that would have been another ten in any other heat. "Awesome, fun," said Mick after it was over.

Kelly got a couple screamers in his heat, but had to fight off a hard charging and hassling wildcard in Aritz Aramburu. Occy thought Kelly's 9 was a little high till he saw the severity of the hack he threw down at the end. "Oh, he did that too," said an impressed Occ. What else? Wildcards Miky Picon got the best backside wave of the day – a super deep dry one – and Tahitian Michel Bourez did enough to beat AI (no easy task at this event). 2002 QPF champ Neco Padaratz also scored some steep and deep pits in his win.

After that though, the north wind came up as did the tide – dropping the level and the vibe precipitously. We had to keep running though because conditions look dicey from tomorrow afternoon on. In Round 2, AI, Taj and Parko all faced dangerous Round 2 elimination heats, but handled the pressure with grace and grit and came through them unscathed.

At the end of the day, the tide dropped, the ocean glassed off and Occy hit the water. This season, more than likely his last, has been the worst of his career. He sits at 43 in the ratings, having only made it through only one heat all year. Today, when Bede Durbidge, found a ten in the improving conditions, all looked lost. But Occy fought back with his trademark power slams on a lined up right and retook the lead. Afterwards, he was overjoyed. "I'd lie if I didn't say I had a tear in my eye," he said.

So did everyone else.

Mikael Picon caused quite a stir when he defeated Taj Burrow in Round 1


(1st advances to Rnd 3; 2nd & 3rd advance to Rnd 2)
Heat 1: 1- Dayyan Neve, 2- Josh Kerr, 3- Pancho Sullivan
Heat 2: 1- Ricky Basnett, 2- Tim Reyes, 3- Taylor Knox
Heat 3: 1- Bobby Martinez, 2- Mark Occhilupo, 3- Luke Stedman
Heat 4: 1- Trent Munro, 2- Dean Morrison, 3- Adrian Buchan
Heat 5: 1- Cory Lopez, 2- Gabe Kling, 3- Bede Durbidge
Heat 6: 1- Luke Munro, 2- Joel Parkinson, 3- Adriano de Souza
Heat 7: 1- Mikael Picon, 2- Kai Otton, 3- Taj Burrow
Heat 8: 1- Kelly Slater, 2- Aritz Aranburu, 3- Fred Patacchia
Heat 9: 1- Mick Fanning, 2- Michael Campbell, 3- Marlon Lipke
Heat 10: 1- Michel Bourez, 2- Andy Irons, 3- Ben Dunn
Heat 11: 1- Neco Padaratz, 2- Jeremy Flores, 3- Raoni Monteiro
Heat 12: 1- Leonardo Neves, 2- Tom Whitaker, 3- Victor Ribas
Heat 13: 1- Rodrigo Dornelles, 2- Daniel Wills, 3- Michael Lowe
Heat 14: 1- Royden Bryson, 2- Shaun Cansdell, 3- Chris Ward
Heat 15: 1- Phil MacDonald, 2- Bruce Irons, 3- Greg Emslie
Heat 16: 1- {{{CJ}}} Hobgood, 2- Bernardo Miranda, 3- Troy Brooks

(1st advances to Rnd 3; 2nd finishes =33rd)

Heat # 1: Andy Irons def. Aritz Aranburu
Heat # 2: Taj Burrow def. Marlon Lipke
Heat # 3: Joel Parkinson def. Gabe Kling
Heat # 4: Mark Occhilupo def. Bede Durbidge
Heat # 5: Dean Morrison def. Tim Reyes
Heat # 6: Victor Ribas def. Taylor Knox

Heat # 7: Pancho Sullivan v. Michael Lowe
Heat # 8: Jeremy Flores v. Shaun Cansdell
Heat # 9: Tom Whitaker v. Greg Emslie
Heat #10: Daniel Wills v. Bernardo Miranda
Heat #11: Chris Ward v. Troy Brooks
Heat #12: Bruce Irons v. Raoni Monteiro
Heat #13: Fred Patacchia v. Josh Kerr
Heat #14: Michael Campbell v. Luke Stedman
Heat #15: Ben Dunn v. Adrian Buchan
Heat #16: Kai Otton v. Adriano de Souza