The Roxy Pro France, Stop No. 9 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) resumed in clean two-to-three foot surf at Culs Nus to decide the last four surfers in the hunt of the coveted French event title.
2014 Roxy Pro France Champion Tyler Wright (AUS), 21, survived a tricky quarterfinal matchup against local Defay and claimed the winning ride in the last 30 seconds of their exchange. Defay started on a medium inside wave and left Wright alone in the lineup, the Australian opted for a bigger, cleaner set wave and performed a series of exciting turns to net a 9.50 and move on to the semis.
“I had a feeling at the start of the heat that it was going to come down to the last minute,” Wright said. “A little wave came along and you can’t say no to a wave in that situation. It shut down, so paddling back out Johanne looked at the second one and I sort of pushed her into it a little bit, and the third and fourth waves were just dreamy. I’m really stoked with how I handled the end of that heat and happy to make the semis.”
In a remake of last year’s semifinal in France, local favorite Johanne Defay (FRA), 21, was eliminated by an in-form Wright and unfortunately couldn’t reach her goal of surfing the final.
“Taking that last wave was clearly a priority mistake, I was too deep and it was a small one,” Defay analyzed. “I think if I’d let Tyler have that one she probably couldn’t have got the score. You can’t make mistakes like that with Tyler or any of the girls actually and I’m the only one to blame. We had pumping waves and there were so many people on the beach; I had some good scores and even this last heat I thought I managed it pretty well up until the last twenty seconds, so yeah this was a fantastic event, I’m super happy.”
Sage Erickson (USA), 24, advanced into the semifinals to claim her season-best performance so far. The Californian, who had previously eliminated World No.4 Lakey Peterson (USA) and 6-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), continued her excellent campaign in France today with a similar buzzer-beater type scenario against Coco Ho (HAW).
“This heat was off to a funky start already, we were almost on the brink of a re-start, but heats go like that and it kind of adds a little more pressure because the ocean is so unpredictable,” Erickson said. “I’ve been happy with my surfing this year, but with my performances that’s a different story. So to get here up into the semis and beat some big names really feels good.”
Carissa Moore (HAW), 23, had to take her game to the next level to come out on top of an exciting battle with talented Australian Nikki Van Dijk (AUS). Moore started off early with an excellent wave of 8.83 to apply pressure on her opponent. The Hawaiian dismantled the little rights on offer with her clean, powerful hacks and showed variety as she laid into a massive layback snap to top it off.
“It’s always a plan as a competitor to go out there and open up with a good score so your competitor has to play catch-up,” Moore admitted. “It was a bit nerve-racking at the end, I was scared I was going to have to play catch-up cause Nikki had a really good wave and we didn’t hear the score for the longest time.”
In the last remaining quarterfinal of the day, tour rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), 19, eliminated current World No.3 and past Roxy Pro France winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Weston-Webb, who scored the only 10 point ride of the women’s event in Round 1 earlier this week on a throaty barrel, proved lethal in the smaller surf too. The young Hawaiian capitalized on surfing backhand to attack the power sections of the waves vertically and post two big scores in a one-way battle against Fitzgibbons.
Competition was put on hold during the low tide, but unfortunately conditions deteriorated, forcing event officials to call it OFF for the rest of the day.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am to assess conditions for the Quiksilver Pro.
Surfline, official forecasters for the World Surf League (WSL), are calling for:
WNW swell mix with improved winds and conditions expected on Thursday and Friday. A smaller leftover mix lingers into Saturday before new Joaquin swell shows during the afternoon/evening. Joaquin swell for Sunday drops into early next week. Monitoring potential WNW swell for next Thursday/Friday.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France is webcast LIVE on worldsurfleague.com and via the WSL app.
UPCOMING ROXY PRO FRANCE SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
ROXY PRO FRANCE QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.33 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.00
QF 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.17 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 12.40
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.00 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 16.57
QF 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.06 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.23
UPCOMING QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
QF 3: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)