Patience: New Swell Hits and Misses at Hossegor

EVENTS HELD: Heats 1-11 of Round 2
CONDITIONS: 2-8 foot (depending on the tide) and offshore
NATURE’S CALL: Could be similar tomorrow
PREDICTIONS: This thing might take a while

On Saturday this contest was a no-brainer. With epic conditions and plenty of swell on the horizon it was looking like this: run at La Nord for the low tide and Graviere for the high. Simple, easy. Ah but then there’s the direction of the swell. That’s the rub. As in Hawaii, the direction here is everything. This morning La Nord and Graviere were dead flat, while a pulse of new straight west (not the preferred northwest) was filling in just {{{300}}} yards north at a spot called Cul Nus (nude beach). By noon it was getting downright weird as tow surfers were getting whipped in to solid 8 foot sets out the outside while La Nord and Graviere were still nothing but ripples.

The call was made early to move up the beach and Round 2 got underway in wobbly 2-3 foot high tide peaks. As the tide dropped, the swell moved in quickly but was mostly mushy and closed out. It was one of those days where you feel bad when anyone loses because getting the right wave is such a matter of luck. Taj, Fanning and Taylor Knox looked good while winning, though. Jeremy Flores also took out Bobby Martinez in the dying seconds of their heat. Next up for the young Frenchman – Kelly Slater who barely out-dueled him in an epic Round 3 clash last year.

After a few heats the round was postponed to allow for an expression session to paddle out into now washing machine conditions. Seriously. The surf jumped three-fold in the matter of two hours.

Then it got weird as the straight angle of the swell didn’t allow for any corners to develop on the inside. With the perfect weather and light offshores, the incoming sets would look shiny as diamonds but were really fools good. Such a bummer the swell direction thing here, it’s like a devil wind. After a super long wait for the tide rise again, the contest finally got going again at 5:30pm and ran till darkness finally fell at 7:45. But that time the glare was so strong that it was mystery how the judges could tell which competitor was wearing which jersey. Travis Logie said after his heat, “I’ve got such a headache from staring at the sun.” In the thick, rolly peaks Occy looked good as did Travis and Pedro Henrique – who upset {{{CJ}}} Hobgood. Roy Powers also kept his hopes of re-qualifying alive by winning his heat. “I was so stoked just to get of the house I’m staying at,” he said. “No matter what time of the day or what it’s like outside, it’s always so cold in there.”

The real question now with Kelly, Taj and Andy still in the contest, world title implications at every turn and wildly unpredictable conditions at hand, is who will avoid a cold spell in a heat here.

It’s France, anything can happen and usually does. Whoever wins is going to have to patient and just roll with it.