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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 12 October 2017

Cranking 6-8ft surf presided over shock upsets at the Quiksilver Pro France at La Graviere in Hossegor today, with World #3 Julian Wilson eliminated but Jordy Smith looking dominant.


SMITH SLASH: Holding thumbs that the big guy can keep up this momentum. Photo WSL / Poullenot

The world title is starting to look tense, though World #1 Smith (ZAF) looked pretty slick on his forehand to dominate his Round One battle against Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and French wildcard Marc Lacomare, who was later to become the giant killer when he came up against Wilson. Smith’s flawless approach on the overhead sets won him a 16.10 heat total for a spot into Round Three.

“It’s got a lot of power out there. I’m kind of psyched on the conditions, it’s so buttery it’s really nice when you get that open face you can really lay down some tracks,” Smith said. “I never take a three-man heat lightly. I always try my best to skip those. My boards are feeling really good. It’s kind of the usual that I normally ride and when there’s a bit more power in the waves, my boards seem to love it, so I’m stoked!”

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FLYING FLORENCE: John John is hot on the heels of Jordy Smith. Photo WSL / Masurel

It was a major setback for Wilson, who has two events to go to catch up to Smith and World #2 John John Florence, who also smashed his Round 1 heat to move straight to Round 3.

Following an opening few days dedicated to women’s action and three lay days, a fresh swell arrived for the men’s first round and eight heats of Round 2 in the ninth stop of the men’s WSL Championship Tour (CT). The first two heats of the day got off to a slow start: the lineup was still settling from a windy afternoon yesterday. Top seeds Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Owen Wright (AUS) suffered Round 2 relegation by Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Nat Young (USA), respectively.

World No. 4 Matt Wilkinson (AUS) was the first top seed to click into gear, taking his backhand vertical attack to the clean Graviere rights to post two good scores and advance straight into Round Three. Aussie compatriot Josh Kerr (AUS) narrowly missed the landing of a couple of aerial maneuvers that could have turned the heat but in the end, the slightly safer approach of Wilkinson won the heat.


HEAVING HOSSEGOR: Split peaks crack along the sandbar at La Graviere. Photo WSL / Poullenot

"I’m excited coming into this leg. I love surfing here and in Portugal when the forecast is good. If I just keep winning heats and find myself at the two end of these two events I’m definitely going to be back up there for Pipe,” Wilko said.

Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Ethan Ewing (AUS) relegated Wilson (AUS) in Heat 4. Ibelli was the first surfer to find a good hollow section on the lefts to score a deep barrel for a near-excellent score. But, it was rookie Ewing and an inspired performance on the rights that won him his first Round One win this season. Ewing let loose on a beautiful set wave and put together a combination of three major carves for an 8.40, the biggest score of the day at that point.

“It’s been hard on the CT with waves that I thought were good and scores that weren’t,” Ewing explained. “So I’ll take it when it comes my way. I’m putting less pressure on myself coming into the back half of the year, just trying to have fun and show what I can do.”

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LOCAL HERO: Favourite Frenchman Joan Duru put on a show. Photo WSL / Masurel

Italo Ferreira (BRA) started his Round One heat the best possible way, launching into a massive backhand rotation in the Graviere shorebreak to post a near-perfect 9.50 in the opening minutes. But when facing the reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW), one big score is never going to be enough, and the Hawaiian went to the air as well to post a couple of big numbers and take the win over Ferreira and defending event champion Keanu Asing (HAW).

"I didn’t see his wave, but I heard everyone freaking out and I knew it was a big score."“I didn’t see his wave, but I heard everyone freaking out and I knew it was a big score, he’s always going to do something massive, especially in those conditions,” Florence said. “I was starting to get my composure back towards the end of that heat and got a couple waves.”

Local hero Joan Duru (FRA) galvanised a huge crowd enjoying a picture-perfect day in SW France. He found two bombs in the opening four minutes against Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA) and built an incredible 18-point total to combo the two Brazilians. Duru’s backhand barrel skills came at the perfect time when La Graviere started pulsing, and his punctuation marks under the lip finished the job. His barrel in the dying seconds kept fans on their toes though the lower score did not count.

“I got a little hometown luck, paddling back from the other side of the peak and getting a wave straight to me,” Duru admitted. “And then paddling back out getting that barrel again. I’m really stoked. I’m lucky Maud (Le Car) was here to run and bring me a board when I broke mine. My main focus is to re-qualify. The rookie of the year race is interesting, but I want to solidify my spot on tour first then see what happens.”

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TOLEDO TORPEDO: Filipe was unable to overcome countryman Miguel Pupo. Photo WSL / Poullenot

Gabriel Medina (BRA) took on two Hossegor locals as well with Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) in Heat 8. The Brazilian, a two-time winner at the Quiksilver Pro France, engaged in a back-and-forth battle for the lead with Flores, while the Italian rookie struggled a bit to find waves. Ultimately, it was a backhand combination of radical turns from Medina that won him the heat. “I love this kind of beach break,” Medina said.

Sebastian Zietz (HAW) put a hurdle on Connor O'Leary’s (AUS) Rookie of the Year race, pushing the talented Australian and Jadson Andre (BRA) into Round Two. Zietz’ marine sense was put to the test and the Hawaiian threaded the long rights perfectly, even finding a deep barrel section close to shore for his highest score of 8.17.

"I love this kind of beach break."Ian Gouveia (BRA) upset three-time WSL Champion and multiple event winner in France, Mick Fanning (AUS), as well as Frederico Morais (PRT). Adrian Buchan (AUS) took out the final ticket for Round Three, sending Kolohe Andino (USA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) to the second round.

In Round 2, Miguel Pupo (BRA) eliminated fellow Brazilian athlete and recent winner at Trestles Filipe Toledo (BRA). Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) continued the trend of upsets in Round Two by eliminating current Rookie of the Year leader Connor O'Leary (AUS). Frederico Morais (PRT), Kolohe Andino (USA) and Mick Fanning (AUS) took the final three heats out to move into Round Three and avoid an equal 25th finish in Hossegor.

Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, are calling for: Medium size NW swell will ease through Friday and fade further during the first half of Saturday as favorable wind continues. An even larger swell will fill in for Sunday, building Saturday afternoon/evening and dropping on Monday.

Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results
 Heat 1: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.77, Conner Coffin (USA) 6.33
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 11.00, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.17, Owen Wright (AUS) 7.20
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.77, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.76
Heat 4: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.57, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.33, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.13
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 15.67, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 5.10
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.10, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.70, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.47
Heat 7: Joan Duru (FRA) 18.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.14
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.86, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.27, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.26
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.20, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.96, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.40
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.74, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.74, Connor O'Leary (AUS) 10.57
Heat 11: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.57, Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.27, Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.16
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.60, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.63, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.60

Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Results
 Heat 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.27 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.23
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.97 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.27 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.50
Heat 5: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 14.60 def. Connor O'Leary (AUS) 11.87
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.26 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.37
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.50 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.60
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.84

Remaining Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Match-Ups
 Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) vs.Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)

Roxy Pro France Semifinal Match-Ups
 SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)

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