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by Ed Temperley on Friday 5th October, 2012 178492 Views
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KELLY Slater wins Quiksilver Pro France over wildcard Dane Reynolds at La Graviere.
Needing only two hours to finish the event Mickey Picon, event director, elected to utilise the morning high tide and the maximum amount of swell on offer and get it done early. He was perhaps the happiest man in France today, having successfully negotiated the challenges of La Graviere and the tide to put the surfers in the best possible conditions here on the gravelly shorebreak.
Kelly's win and tightens up the top four knot nicely moving into the final three events of the year: Portugal, California and Hawaii.
"When you start working the numbers a little bit, I got that 500 pointer and a 13th, two bad results, already," Slater said. "Parko (Joel Parkinson) is sitting on a 9th and a 5th. If I couldn't get past Parko today, it would have put a lot of pressure on me, but this has now put the pressure back on Mick (Fanning) because Parko, John John (Florence) and I did well here at this event."
You can review all the heats here. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
With conditions slowing, Slater wasted little time in the final, collecting a 7.93 and a 9.33 in the opening 10 minutes for impressive tube rides on his forehand. While Reynolds would battle back with his own barrels and aerial attempts, it would not prove enough in the end allowing Slater to collect his first French victory in two decades.
"It has literally been 20 years," Slater said. "I had my first win here 20 years ago and that's pretty crazy. Obviously when you go out there you want to win the heat, but I would have been really stoked if Dane (Reynolds) pulled a 10 out of his hat at the end of the heat, it would have been pretty rad."
Today marks Slater's third win of the 2012 season (Fiji, Trestles, France) and vaults him up to 2nd on the ASP WCT rankings, well within striking distance of ASP World Title No. 12 with three events remaining this year. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Reynolds was a standout from the opening round of the Quiksilver Pro France, consistently posting high scores and wowing the masses with his tube-riding prowess. Unfortunately for Reynolds, conditions did not cooperate in the Final against Slater.
"That was a lot of fun out there," Reynolds said. "I just really like these waves and I wasn't really worried about competing or winning the heat. I always put a lot of pressure on myself, maybe not on winning but to surf well. I've liked every day of this event. Yesterday was intense and challenging and the day before was the same. Today was just perfect and fun. Today was a playground, you can't ask for any better than that."
No longer a full-time competitor on the ASP World Championship Tour, Reynolds is still regarded as one of the best surfers in the world and his performance at the 2012 Quiksilver Pro France once again validated his reputation.
"When I was on tour full time, I would do maybe 20 events every year," Reynolds said. "This year I'm planning on doing 10, and focusing on some other stuff. I'm still competing nearly full time, but I'm just not in a World Title race or anything like that. I feel like when you're surfing contest full time, you're constantly trying to refine your surfing act whereas I've been trying to focus on exploring new ways of surfing or new lines this year. I think I'm surfing the best I ever have and to come to France and surf with John John in perfect 6 foot waves is really the best thing ever. It has been a great event." © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Once Kelly Slater had dropped that plus nine the engraver started tapping out the K on the trophy. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Parko yet again came up short against Kelly, that's two events in a row. Joel will be hoping to halt that slide in Portugal despite the 3rd place promoting him to number one in the world.
Joel Parkinson moves into the frontrunner position on the 2012 ASP WCT ratings, but the Australian has foregone celebrating in favor of focusing on the road ahead in Portugal.
"I can't wait for Portugal,' Parkinson said. "It would be nice to get a win over there as the race is shaping up to come down to the end. Hopefully, if the waves are anything like this, it will be another amazing event." © 2013 Lucia Griggi
John John Florence solidified his position as 4th in the world today despite falling to Reynolds in the Semifinals.
"Obviously, I would have wanted to make the Final," Florence said. "It went into a very close heat and I would rather lose by 3 points points away than to lose with a 0.1 difference - it feels like I was a cutback away but I'm very happy with making the Semifinals. The waves have been all-time every single day, just crazy shorebreak barrels and it's been a lot of fun."
The young Hawaiian is well within the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title heading into the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
"I can't wait for Portugal," Florence said. "It's pretty similar to this, maybe a little bit more organized and I can't wait to get some waves. Today's result is a keeper for sure, but I think I'm pretty far away in the title race. We'll see what happens." © 2013 Lucia Griggi
The previous evening had been groundhog day at the Quiksilver Pro France, big tubes, surprise results and the obligatory split morning/evening session.
That was until the final hour. If you didn't see it then hit rewind here on the heat review, make some tea and stop reading this. It all started when Parko, the temporary King of France, dropped a soul-arch 10 in the sunset...
"That's what you dream of when you make the tour." He said "You dream of perfect days at La Graviere. I was wondering if it was a closeout, it was a sick feeling, you exit and see everyone with their hands in the air. "
Seconds later Kelly drops two massive bombs, one where the camera gave up on him for 18.43 in 30 seconds. Then backs it up with a 10 and a 9.2 for a 19.93.
Deciding final four at the Quik Pro: John John Florence vs Dane Reynolds and Joel Parkinson vs Kelly Slater, a dream match-up of flair and audacity. © 2013 Quiksilver
The crowd, toes in the Atlantic jostling for position were treated to a brace of final heats in the sunset. The best part of the day, and event, was the final hour where the top surfers left in the event shadow-boxed in the milky orange and pink barrels.
Parkinson opted to sit on the northern end of the competition area and was rewarded with the best waves of the heat. The stylish natural-footer left a younger Gabriel Medina wandering the shallow waters while Parkinson continued building momentum, culminating with a perfect 10 point ride on a solid righthander.
"There was a big rip between us and there's no point getting involved in that, so I just left him alone and he left me alone, and I'm glad the waves came down my way and not his," Parkinson said. "That 10, I was wondering if it was a close-out of there was a doggy-door. The soul arch in there, I was just feeling it! It was such a sick view. When you came out you could see everyone on the beach and all their hands up, it's such a good feeling." © 2013 Bravo/Quiksilver
"You know the waves are so good, that literally both guys can get two 10s out there right now, there's that many good waves," Slater said. "I was throwing away better waves than I've had all contest, it's just pumping. The color of the sky and everything came together, the wind, the swell and the tide was perfect for the size, it was really nice. These are some of the best beachbreaks in the world right there." © 2013 Testemale/Quiksilver
Kelly Slater paying the price on the penultimate day. © 2013 Rabejac/Quiksilver
Parko deep sea and dropping fast beneath the curvature of the world. © 2013 Bravo/Quiksilver
During the event, Dane Reynolds was the surprise package, slipping into the finals in front of an adoring crowd. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Kolohe Andino said his success came down to by "not caring too much." He secured his 2013 tour future in France. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Will Dane try for the tour again? Probably not, but we keep hoping. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Kelly was out of the event it looked like until he dredged a 4.9 out of the judges' pockets from a well only he has access to. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Did we mention that we'd like to see more of Dane? © 2013 Lucia Griggi
Miguel Pupo dropping into a monster. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
KP made some heats in France, if the whole tour were heavy barrels he'd be right up there and will be a real threat in Portugal. © 2013 Lucia Griggi
© 2013 ASP
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