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Published:October 8, 2016


John John does his best to take out an errant drone en route to beating Callinan in R3. He lost to Toledo in R4, but will get another chance in R5 against Adriano. Photo: Trevor Moran
surfline image 2016
Last night, I watched a new film on the origins of French surfing called ‘Let Them Eat Surf.’ It documents the nascent surf culture in the early '70s that was driven by Vietnam draft dodgers, drug runners and dropouts. No wonder Miki Dora sheltered here, living on stolen credit cards, good will and a demonic charm. In the ‘80s Tom Curren, Maurice Cole and Gary Elkerton came for the empty waves, and stayed for the love of a French woman.
The surf industry followed on their heels, the industry pioneers finding it easy to sell both the surfing dream and expensive boardshorts to Europeans who were discovering surf culture for the first time. Its success brought more surfers who reveled in the good wine, a general level of lawlessness and still-uncrowded waves.
And to be fair, last night around midnight as Mike D from the Beastie Boys blasted a killer DJ set to a raucous crowd under starry skies at the Quik party held at the Estagnots Beach House owned by local pro charger Benjamin Sanchis, it was hard not to get swept away with the general French vibe. Times may have changed, crowds may have increased, but it sure isn’t hard to have a f++king good time in this corner of the Bay of Biscay.     

And of course there are the waves, the very thing the whole edifice is built on. Again today there was a lot of ‘em. The contest bank isn’t the best on the beach, but it does offer a left rip bowl at high tide, and scattered peaks on the low and moments of perfection in between.    

The Roxy Pro kicked off proceedings, and by the time Tyler Wright and Courtney Conlogue won their heats to get on opposite sides of the draw, and Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore and Coco Ho all posted 8 point rides in the last Round 3 heat, it was clear we’d have another full day of surfing. By the end after 20 heats of rip paddling sectioned by high-octane surfing, the field, and the world title contenders, had been cleaved in half.   

The French crowd responded, even if they tend to arrive en masse for their favorite surfers. It peaked around midday when Florence and Medina surfed back-to-back heats, and adopted local Leo Fioravanti was involved. On the very sand where 75 kilograms of discarded cocaine was washed up just over ten years ago, a massive crowd had gathered to keep tabs on the world title.
"It feels good when you get involved in a battle, even if you win or lose."
--JJF
In the end Medina, and to a lesser extent Florence, can both count themselves lucky they are still in that conversation at this event. In his Round 3 heat, Medina looked as if he had found some low-grade methamphetamine on the high tide mark, catching 13 waves, nine of which scored less than two points. “I was just trying to find a good one,” was how he summed up his strategy.   

Fioravanti meanwhile dropped anchor, scored an 8.57 with a tube and only needed a 4.8 to win with six minutes to go. He was so confident he had got the score with a two-snap right on the three-minute mark that he paddled back out and sat on Gabby. It came up short however, and Medina had dodged a bullet.    

When asked if he might try to change his approach for the next round, he gave a more detailed analysis. “I just go and surf and try my best.” To be fair, it worked and he waited with more patience to get the best waves, and slid straight through to the quarters. That he has done that surfing nowhere near his peak will not be unnoticed by his competitors.   

Florence was more switched on in his first heat, and it took a massive backside punt by Callinan to get the rookie needing a relatively small score with five minutes to go. Another big punt failed however, and unlike three previous heats this year when he gave away heats in the last minutes, Florence sat on his opponent and closed it out. 

“That’s where it gets interesting and it feels good when you get involved in a battle, even if you win or lose,” he said afterwards. Today he won the major battle, and looked very much the most likely to win the war.    

Elsewhere, battles were being won and lost up and down the 300-yard stretch of sand as the swell continued to build into the long afternoon. Wilko was the major casualty, an error-strewn and unconvincing performance surely killing off any hope of a world title. It’s a shame that his best-ever year on tour might now been considered some type of failure, but that’s the deal when you fly that close to the sun. 

“I didn’t really care about Wilko; it’s all about me,” said his victor Kai Otton, who, in reaching the quarterfinals in the last heat of the day, is waging his own war against early retirement. He’s done it before in Europe and as the sun slipped into the Atlantic, he will believe he can do it again.  

That just left Toledo, who after a ten for what might be the best aerial ever seen in competition, has to be considered favorite for the event. His defeat of an electric Florence might see them meet in the quarters. Now that will be a battle. 

The history for French surfing is both long and colorful and today a new high performance chapter was added. Let them eat surf, they said. When it’s served up like this, there’s nothing to do but swallow it whole.     

ROXY PRO R3 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.00, Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.00, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 9.53
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.37, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.10, Laura Enever (AUS) 8.46
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.30, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.14, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.10
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.37, Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.66, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.64 

ROXY PRO R4 MATCH-UPS: 
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.50 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 12.80
Heat 3: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.16 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.80
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.53
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.06 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.34 vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.90
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.23 vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.90
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93 vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.93
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.66
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.60 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.43 

QUIKSILVER PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.43, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.76, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.53
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50, John John Florence (HAW) 18.47, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.03
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.13, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.74
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.33 

QUIKSILVER PRO ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS: 
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)

King of the Beach Story: Quiksilver Pro France Update


Published:October 8, 2016


John John does his best to take out an errant drone en route to beating Callinan in R3. He lost to Toledo in R4, but will get another chance in R5 against Adriano. Photo: Trevor Moran
surfline image 2016
Last night, I watched a new film on the origins of French surfing called ‘Let Them Eat Surf.’ It documents the nascent surf culture in the early '70s that was driven by Vietnam draft dodgers, drug runners and dropouts. No wonder Miki Dora sheltered here, living on stolen credit cards, good will and a demonic charm. In the ‘80s Tom Curren, Maurice Cole and Gary Elkerton came for the empty waves, and stayed for the love of a French woman.
The surf industry followed on their heels, the industry pioneers finding it easy to sell both the surfing dream and expensive boardshorts to Europeans who were discovering surf culture for the first time. Its success brought more surfers who reveled in the good wine, a general level of lawlessness and still-uncrowded waves.
And to be fair, last night around midnight as Mike D from the Beastie Boys blasted a killer DJ set to a raucous crowd under starry skies at the Quik party held at the Estagnots Beach House owned by local pro charger Benjamin Sanchis, it was hard not to get swept away with the general French vibe. Times may have changed, crowds may have increased, but it sure isn’t hard to have a f++king good time in this corner of the Bay of Biscay.     

And of course there are the waves, the very thing the whole edifice is built on. Again today there was a lot of ‘em. The contest bank isn’t the best on the beach, but it does offer a left rip bowl at high tide, and scattered peaks on the low and moments of perfection in between.    

The Roxy Pro kicked off proceedings, and by the time Tyler Wright and Courtney Conlogue won their heats to get on opposite sides of the draw, and Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore and Coco Ho all posted 8 point rides in the last Round 3 heat, it was clear we’d have another full day of surfing. By the end after 20 heats of rip paddling sectioned by high-octane surfing, the field, and the world title contenders, had been cleaved in half.   

The French crowd responded, even if they tend to arrive en masse for their favorite surfers. It peaked around midday when Florence and Medina surfed back-to-back heats, and adopted local Leo Fioravanti was involved. On the very sand where 75 kilograms of discarded cocaine was washed up just over ten years ago, a massive crowd had gathered to keep tabs on the world title.
"It feels good when you get involved in a battle, even if you win or lose."
--JJF
In the end Medina, and to a lesser extent Florence, can both count themselves lucky they are still in that conversation at this event. In his Round 3 heat, Medina looked as if he had found some low-grade methamphetamine on the high tide mark, catching 13 waves, nine of which scored less than two points. “I was just trying to find a good one,” was how he summed up his strategy.   

Fioravanti meanwhile dropped anchor, scored an 8.57 with a tube and only needed a 4.8 to win with six minutes to go. He was so confident he had got the score with a two-snap right on the three-minute mark that he paddled back out and sat on Gabby. It came up short however, and Medina had dodged a bullet.    

When asked if he might try to change his approach for the next round, he gave a more detailed analysis. “I just go and surf and try my best.” To be fair, it worked and he waited with more patience to get the best waves, and slid straight through to the quarters. That he has done that surfing nowhere near his peak will not be unnoticed by his competitors.   

Florence was more switched on in his first heat, and it took a massive backside punt by Callinan to get the rookie needing a relatively small score with five minutes to go. Another big punt failed however, and unlike three previous heats this year when he gave away heats in the last minutes, Florence sat on his opponent and closed it out. 

“That’s where it gets interesting and it feels good when you get involved in a battle, even if you win or lose,” he said afterwards. Today he won the major battle, and looked very much the most likely to win the war.    

Elsewhere, battles were being won and lost up and down the 300-yard stretch of sand as the swell continued to build into the long afternoon. Wilko was the major casualty, an error-strewn and unconvincing performance surely killing off any hope of a world title. It’s a shame that his best-ever year on tour might now been considered some type of failure, but that’s the deal when you fly that close to the sun. 

“I didn’t really care about Wilko; it’s all about me,” said his victor Kai Otton, who, in reaching the quarterfinals in the last heat of the day, is waging his own war against early retirement. He’s done it before in Europe and as the sun slipped into the Atlantic, he will believe he can do it again.  

That just left Toledo, who after a ten for what might be the best aerial ever seen in competition, has to be considered favorite for the event. His defeat of an electric Florence might see them meet in the quarters. Now that will be a battle. 

The history for French surfing is both long and colorful and today a new high performance chapter was added. Let them eat surf, they said. When it’s served up like this, there’s nothing to do but swallow it whole.     

ROXY PRO R3 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.00, Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.00, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 9.53
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.37, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.10, Laura Enever (AUS) 8.46
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.30, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.14, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.10
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.37, Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.66, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.64 

ROXY PRO R4 MATCH-UPS: 
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.50 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 12.80
Heat 3: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.16 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.80
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.53
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.06 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.34 vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.90
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.23 vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.90
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93 vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.93
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.66
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.60 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.43 

QUIKSILVER PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS: 
Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.43, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.76, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.53
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50, John John Florence (HAW) 18.47, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.03
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.13, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.74
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.33 

QUIKSILVER PRO ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS: 
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)

King of the Beach Story: Quiksilver Pro France Update

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