The Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France, Stop No. 9 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), resumed in pumping six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) waves at Culs Nus for another exciting day of action. Competition ran through the second round of the men’s event followed by Round 1 and Heats 1 – 3 of Round 2 of the women’s event.
11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 43, bounced back from a slow start in the opening round of competition yesterday and put on a dominant performance in the shifting lineup of Culs Nus to post the highest combined heat total of Round 2, an impressive 17.37 out of 20.
“There weren’t a lot of opportunities, there’s so much current.” Slater explained. “The conditions are flawless but there’s a lot of water moving around and it hasn’t sorted itself out yet. Realistically I don’t have much of a shot at the World Title, these guys would have to mess up pretty bad and that hasn’t really been happening.”
Local hero Jeremy Flores (FRA), 27, kept his hopes alive and the whole beach entertained with an excellent frontside barrel to advance into the third round ahead of Hawaii’s Dusty Payne. Flores used his home-field advantage to find a gem, and score the winning 8.23 ride.
“It seems like I always get a super fun freesurf and every time I paddle out here for my heat I get nothing,” Flores admitted. “In this heat I got one good wave and hopefully in the next I can get a few more. I always want to do good here and there’s a lot of support for me in France so I want to give back. I’ll have to fight that pressure and turn it into something positive.”
Powerful Hawaiian surfer Keanu Asing (HAW), 22, showcased his backhand attack on a clean Hossegor wall and performed two surgical turns to collect his highest scoring ride. With a quick back-up, Asing eliminated 2012 WSL Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) on his way to secure an important Round 3 berth in his requalification campaign.
“Coming up against Joel I know I have to bring the best of myself, against the champ you’ve got to surf like a champ,” Asing said. “I had a gameplan and stuck to it, luckily it worked out and I made it through this heat. The things that I’ve learned on this tour I can take to the next events and build confidence. I feel comfortable competing at this level.”
Maxime Huscenot (FRA), 23, produced the day’s upset when he edged out current No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard Filipe Toledo (BRA) in a low-scoring Round 2 match-up. Currently at No.12 on the Qualifying Series (QS), Huscenot will be looking to up his game when competition recommences and he faces current Jeep rankings leader Mick Fanning (AUS) in Round 3.
“The conditions are gnarly now, the current is super strong and you can’t sit out there, you have to keep moving all the time,” Huscenot said. “I started on the lefts but was struggling to keep my line and was sliding in the barrel so I moved to where Filipe was and that’s where I found my best wave. I’m very happy to be here and I feel fortunate to receive this wildcard. I’ve been doing good on the QS and I want to finish my season strong so this is a good way to keep in rhythm.”
Following the completion of Men’s Round 2, the Roxy Pro France welcomed the world’s best female surfers into the afternoon lineup for the opening round of competition and Heats 1 – 3 of Round 2. Clean conditions provided an excellent canvas for the WSL Top 17 to tear into, ushering in some of the finest performance surfing of the season.
Carissa Moore (HAW), 23, dominated the day’s proceedings with an incredible performance in the big, powerful surf of Culs Nus. Moore surfed the Sunset-like conditions to perfection and combined multiple major maneuvers to advance ahead of reigning six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) straight into the third round.
“I’m definitely fired up, I’m excited for these last two events, I know anything can happen and it’s really close between me and Courtney,” Moore stated. “I just want to be in that title race, I’m excited about the journey, win or lose I’m excited to be a part of it. French beachbreaks are amazing but they can also change drastically from day-to-day so I’m stoked we got to sneak in some amazing conditions.”
Fresh from an excellent third place result in Cascais, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), 19, kept her momentum going into the opening matchup at the Roxy Pro France, and scored the first Perfect 10 point ride for a flawless forehand tube and closeout re-entry.
“I wasn’t really expecting to get barreled to be honest because I was really looking at the rights, but before I paddled out I saw a couple of very good left barrels and I knew they were out there,” Weston-Webb said. “That wave came right to me and I was like, OK I might as well just try. It was just a beauty of a wave and I’m so stoked I got it.”
Hawaiian compatriot Coco Ho (HAW), 24, cracked the top of the judging scale with her signature forehand carves and top turns, posting a 9.10 and 8.83 to relegate current Jeep rankings leader Courtney Conlogue (USA) to elimination Round 2. Right on the bubble of re-qualification for next year’s CT, Ho’s result in France will play a vital role in the future of her young career.
“Coming off Trestles and this whole year, Uncle Dino, Uncle Shane and my dad have been helping me trying to find the formula; they know I have the mechanics and I can surf well so it’s just trying to put it all together for the judges,” Ho reflected. “I finally listened and rode a bigger board, bigger fins and it finally worked and felt pretty comfy.”
Conlogue went on to defeat wildcard Chelsea Tuach (BRB) and secure her place in Round 3.
Local hero Johanne Defay (FRA), 21, re-adjusted in a short 25-minute break between her Round 1 and Round 2 bouts, to attack her elimination match-up against Silvana Lima (BRA) with a solid 9.67 on four big forehand carves and hacks. Defay, who has been on a tear in her second season amongst the world’s best, is currently sitting in 6th position on the Jeep Leaderboard and will look to confirm her excellent form when the event resumes.
“It was pretty tricky and I wasn’t expecting to surf the second round,” Defay said. “I knew how the lineup worked because I just went straight back out after my first heat. I got the first good wave and scored a 9 and that made me really comfortable. I was just hoping for another good wave to come quickly because I knew Silvana could get a score easily in those conditions.”
The day rounded out with Alessa Quizon (HAW) delivering a shock upset by eliminating current No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in Round 2 Heat 2.
“It was so tricky out there,” said Quizon. “Going into this I really wanted to get a good score after I watched everyone else getting 8’s and 9’s. The pressure was on but you have to believe in yourself to make things happen.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am to assess conditions.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France is webcast LIVE on worldsurfleague.com and via the WSL app.
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 6.10 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.90
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.57 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.07
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.37 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 1.93
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.56 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 1.33
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) advanced over Alejo Muniz (BRA) (Injury Withdrawal)
Heat 6: Nat Young (USA) 12.66 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.27
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.60 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 7.16
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.67 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 6.40
Heat 9: Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.17 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 2.86
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.00 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 7.17
Heat 11: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.17 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.16
Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.20 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.20
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
ROXY PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 17.50, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.84, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 1.43
Heat 2: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 15.04, Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.27, Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.17
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) 17.93, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.86, Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 7.16
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 18.77, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.66, Sage Erickson (USA) 7.90
Heat 5: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.67, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.93, Pauline Ado (FRA) 10.43
Heat 6: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.90, Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.33, Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.00
ROXY PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 18.17 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.50
Heat 2: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.80 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.20
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.23 def. Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 5.97
UPCOMING ROXY PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)