All Photos: Gregoire Gyselinck
With tide on my side…
The tide is such a drama queen here, a real bipolar bitch. She’ll give you the lowest lows and the highest highs, but her middle ground is a forever changing tangle of peaks. On the opening day of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro France, the tide swung and arrived with a new identity at every single heat. She demanded savvy, and she demanded it with a tail throw -- who wants to see turns at a fun-sized, punchy beachbreak. Not us. Not you. And definitely not the French fans -- they love themselves a good loft. Kickouts work, too.
The Round 3 roundabout…
It’s Europe. There are roundabouts everywhere, even in surf contests. Round 1 gave the option of a brief layover in Round 2 or a direct route to Round 3. These people took the straight shot today and they did it with panache.
Taj Burrow: TB had himself a lovely little wine afternoon yesterday, then carried his jollies all the way into the first heat of the morning -- casually sipping his way past Travis Logie and Frederick P. Mmm. Cabernet.
Jeremy Flores: Sure, he’s French so this is his “home,” but would you have really picked him to win against Mick Fanning and Miguel Pupo? The crowd did. Jeremy made his third heat of the year today. All good things in all good time, I suppose.
Matt Wilkinson: Wilko eats Kelly Slater for breakfast and lunch, then probably a cheesesteak for dinner. After handing the champ a 13th place at J-Bay, Wilko kept his streak alive by besting him in Round 1 today. He even did lunges down the beach to warm up! Are we seeing a new Wilko? Probably not, but still…
Gabriel Medina: Do you remember when you first heard this kid’s name? I do. It was at the Quiksilver King of the Groms in 2009. He got two 10s in one heat and surfed in a way that would have smoked some of the ‘CTers. He didn’t get two 10s in one heat today, but he smoked 1.5 ‘CTers -- namely Dane Reynolds and Tiago Pires.
Julian Wilson: He beat John John and Jadson Andre today, but wasn’t too thrilled about it. Julian and John went air for air while Jadson stuck to that violent backhand, and there was a point in which violence was the answer. Julez didn’t take too kindly to that and stuck a big ol’ oop to regain the lead. John John, meanwhile, almost landed a 540. It was an interesting heat to say the least.
Miguel Pupo: After cracking the Quarters on the Gold Coast, Migy’s had a shaky year. But he won today in an estranged battle against Kolohe Andino and Dion Atkinson. The judges have a thing for those backhanders.
Adrian Buchan: I wasn’t kidding. They love it when you tee of backside. Ace rode his semifinal momentum from Lowers and they loved it today.
Josh Kerr: Kerrzy prevailed in the clunkiness of high tide in the last heat of the day. This man got a taste of the podium at Margaret River earlier this year, and we’ve got a hunch he’ll find his way back up there in France.
They say that tomorrow…
With a little bit of luck and a lot of waves like today, we could see Men’s Round 2. Or a ladies Round 4. Or no contest, and the subsequent hoard of uncovered French flesh on the soft sands of the beach. We shall see. --Brendan Buckley
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd & 3rd to Round 2) :
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.16, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.97, Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.10
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.33, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.80, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.93
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.73, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.84
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.50, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.83, Kai Otton (AUS) 5.17
Heat 5: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67, Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50, Matt Banting (AUS) 13.43
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.56, Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.43
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.90, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.76, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.43
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.77, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.00, John John Florence (HAW) 12.73
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.16, Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.03, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.90
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.60, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.84, Nat Young (USA) 12.06
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.43, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.00, Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.14
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.23, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.00, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.43
Quiksilver Pro France Round Match-Ups (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd Finishes Equal 25th) :
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)