Thumping beachbreak barrels greeted the world’s best on Day 3 of the waiting period in Hossegor, prompting organisers to kick-off Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro France.
Julian Wilson top-scored in Round 1 to move directly into Round 3.
And it didn’t take long for the action and the drama to start. In the opening heat, Brett Simpson (USA) and Kelly Slater (USA) matched each other’s scores in a hard-fought battle, and had to be separated by a count back – which Brett won with the higher single wave score (8.17pts). Julian Wilson (AUS) followed that up with the highest heat total of the day (18.80pts) for two long, draining tubes. The interest in Heat 3 was heightened back here in South Africa, after Dane Reynolds announced before the event that he’d be donating his prize money to Surfers Not Street Children. And the Californian didn’t disappoint by taking the heat win easily and jumping directly to Round 3 (increasing the amount of prize money he’ll earn in the process).
World rankings leader, Mick Fanning (AUS), and number two, Adriano de Souza (BRA), then did the business in their opening heats to skip to Round 3, before John John Florence (HAW) took to the water for Heat 8. John John needed only two waves to put the result to bed in his match-up with Alejo Muniz (BRA) and Jeremy Flores (FRA), but Alejo was hot on his heels with a 9.10 ride he was awarded for a deep tube. However, Alejo twisted his knee badly on his next ride and was unable to back up his score. John John was through to Round 3.
Dane Reynolds was blowing up in Round 1.
Most of Round 1’s highest scores were being awarded for the rights, which were offering more of an exit. But the following heat after John John’s saw Australia’s Ace Buchan lock in two nine-plus scores on a pair of beautiful lefts he found that didn’t close out.
Thomas Hermes (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Bede Durbidge (AUS) and CJ Hobgood (USA) were the other heat winners in Round 1, while the rest of the field will be battling it out when Round 2 of the Quiksilver Pro France resumes.
Go to worldsurfleague.com to catch all the heat reviews and results from today’s action.