In the wee Friday morning hours on the East Coast, the final day of the Quiksilver Pro France was getting underway in the waters of La Graviere in France. With 3 of the top 4 surfers on tour in the semifinals (John John Florence, Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater), the race for this year’s World Title heated up. In the end, it was Kelly and Dane Reynolds who paddled out for the Finals. Sadly, I was asleep and missed watching it live. Thank goodness for Heat Review. Kelly scored 17.26 points to Dane’s 14 points, securing his 51st World Tour victory – and his first victory in France in 20 years.
I did get to watch Day 4 of the event on Thursday, in-between dropping off the kids at school and working at home. It was a busy day with final heats of Round 3, Rounds 4 and 5, and the Quarterfinals all running. Some surfers surfed four heats that day. The early rounds were a little weird but the day turned magical at dusk and the waves started pumping for the Quarterfinals.
Joel Parkinson faced Gabriel Medina, a young Brazillian who’s part of the new guard on tour, in the 3rd quarterfinal and put Medina in a combo situation early on. Medina stayed in that situation – needing a combined total from two waves in order to best Joel’s standing score – the rest of the heat. Joel scored a gorgeous barrel, standing up straight and tall – all six feet of him with room to spare – earning himself a perfect 10. He earned 18.83 points to Medina’s 12.9 points.
Then, Kelly paddled out to face Kieren Perrow in the last quarterfinal and last heat of the day. Earlier in Round 4, Kieren beat Kelly but this time, Kelly had Kieren without many options. Kelly’s throwaway scores from the heat were better than other waves he scored during the rest of the contest. He ended up keeping one perfect 10 and another near perfect score.
But, I think that the most exciting part was having Dane in the event. Everyone loves Dane and he’s arguably the most innovative surfer hands down. But he rarely competes on tour so he added a bit of spark. It’s always interesting to see how he performs in this more structured surfing format.
Winning the Quik Pro France, Kelly is now in second place in the World Title race, only 750 points behind Joel. With only three events left on the schedule, will this be the year of World Title #12 for Kelly??