Quiksilver Pro France competition returned to the thumping barrels of La Gravier today and saw the world's best surfers tear in to pulsing six foot (2 metre) swell to decide the event's Semifinalists.
Stop No. 7 of 10 on the ASP WCT, the Quiksilver Pro France saw several upsets unfold throughout the early rounds of competition, but the remaining ASP World Title contenders regained momentumover the course of a marathon day of competition which spanned from Round 3through the Quarterfinals.
Kelly Slater (USA) 40, current ASP WCT No. 3, put an exclamation point on today's competition in the last quarterfinal heat of the evening, posting a perfect 10-point ride and a 9.93 backup score to secure the highest heat-total of Quiksilver Pro France competition and his spot in the Semifinals.
“You know the waves are so good, that literally both guys can get two 10 out there right now, there’s that many good waves," Slater said. "I was throwing away better waves than I’ve had all contest, it’s just pumping. The color of the sky and everything came together, the wind, the swell and the tide was perfect for the size, it was really nice. These are some of the best beachbreaks in the world right there.”
Slater will face current ASP WCT No. 2Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, in the Semifinals and while the heat marks an important point in the ASP World Title Race, the veteran campaigner will attempt to take a relaxed approach to the Final day of competition.
“I won’t even think about the Semifinal against Joel much," Slater said. "You know, it’s pointless to think about, you get to sit there all night and not sleep. It’s an important heat for both of us and whatever is going to happen is going to happen.”
Joel Parkinson was in dominant form today, taking out two convincing heat wins while besting defending Quiksilver Pro France Winner Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, to seal his Semifinals position.
“That was sick, that was unreal," Parkinson said. "That’s what you dream of when you’re trying to make the tour. You just want to have a nice heat in France at La Graviere when it’s pumping. There were so many good waves out there and I wished I could have surfed for an hour.”
Parkinson opted to sit on the northern end of the competition area and was rewarded with the best waves of the heat. The stylish natural-footer left a younger Gabriel Medina wandering the shallow waters while Parkinson continued building momentum, culminating with a perfect 10 point ride on a solid righthander.
“There was a big rip between us and there’s no point getting involved in that, so I just left him alone and he left me alone, and I’m glad the waves came down my way and not his," Parkinson said. "That 10, I was wondering if it was a close-out or there was a doggy-door. The soul arch in there, I was just feeling it! It was such a sick view. When you came out you could see everyone on the beach and all their hands up, it’s such a good feeling.”
John John Florence (HAW) 19, current No. 4 on the ASP WCT, took a decisive step towards the business end of the Quiksilver Pro France with a commanding Quarterfinals victory over Brazilian Miguel Pupo (BRA), 20.
“It is an important event for sure, the whole title race thing, I’m trying not to think about it too much, I just take it heat by heat and will see what happens at the end of the year," Florence said. "It’s my first full year on Tour and I’m just having fun and enjoying it.”
At ease in the sand dredging barrels of La Graviere, Florence put on an exciting show for the growing French crowds, pulling in to solid barrels in his Quarterfinals bout while advancing through to his third Semifinal heat this year.
“It was a lot of fun, there are a lot of waves coming in," Florence said. "There’s a lot of current shifting everyone around though so you have to keep your eye on that one peak but it was fun!”
Florence will face off against Quiksilver Pro France wildcard Dane Reynolds (USA), 27, in Semifinal No. 1 when competition resumes.
Dane Reynolds, former full-time ASP WCT competitor and Quiksilver Pro France Wildcard, continued his dominance today, advancing to the Semifinals ahead of fellow Californian Kolohe Andino (USA) 18, in a one-sided affair. Reynolds started up his account in the opening seconds of their heat with an incredible barrel, netting a 9.10 out of a possible 10. He quickly backed it up with a signature power gouge to put his opponent in a difficult combination zone to aid in his convincing win.
“I was lucky that I went up there and he got stuck in the rip I guess, because it was really clean up where I was and there were some really nice waves," Reynolds said. "I’m looking forward to being able to surf these waves again, especially in the morning. It’s so nice out there. I’m still competing, but I'm just doing the events that I really want to do and trying to find the right balance for me. I’m definitely enjoying being here and doing this event, I’m psyched!”
When competition resumes (call at 8am local time), up first will be John John Florence against Dane Reynolds in Semifinal No. 1 of Quiksilver Pro France competition.
Watch the live on : quiksilverlive.com
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 15.33 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 2.50
QF 2: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.20 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 1.27
QF 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.83 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.90
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.93 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.96
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.50 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.16
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.50 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 2.07
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.60 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.00
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.07 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.66
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (USA) 16.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.26, Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.50
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.86, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.34, Michel Bourez (PYF) 3.77
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.53, Owen Wright (AUS) 9.90, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.97
Heat 4: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.40, Kelly Slater (USA) 11.66, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.14
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.40 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.40
Heat 10: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.77 def. JeremyFlores (FRA) 10.50
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.66 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.24
Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 5.70