France: Rounds 4 & 5

Slater, Burrow, and Smith Break Through at Quik Pro France

| posted on October 11, 2011

With a thick fog blanketing the lineup at the Quik Pro France this morning, contest officials at La Graviere put the comp on hold until visibility improved enough to kickstart rounds four and five. After a nearly five-hour delay, the fog finally lifted and the carnage began.

With the sweeping tides that have come to define the French beachbreaks, the conditions in the lineup today seemed to alter with every passing heat. When you’re competing in a constantly morphing lineup, experience proves to be invaluable, and on the World Tour right now, there’s no one more seasoned in an array of conditions than Slater.

Surfing against Brazilian rookie Gabriel Medina and past event champion Ace Buchan in their Round 4 non-elimination matchup, Slater opened up the heat with an enormous no-hands, full-rotation frontside air to draw first blood. Just a few short seconds later, Medina answered back with his own tweaked frontside whip, showing Slater that when it comes to stomping airs, it won’t be easy outdoing this new Brazilian contingency. Kelly would counter with a flurry of high-speed rail work on his backup wave that earned him a high 8 while the Brazilian would mix mach-speed turns with a mammoth air to lock in a similar score. In the end, Slater edged out Medina by the narrowest of margins and took the win with a .3 lead over the rookie. As has become par for the season, the scoring for the heat was called into question.

“The waves are pretty fun out there and I have a good board under my feet,” Slater said to the ASP. “I guess I’m comfortable out there. I’ve been coming to France for so many years that I’m used to the waves here and I know what to look for when it’s changing.”

When the ASP asked Slater about his hopes for an 11th world title, he replied, “I haven’t worked the numbers out, but they may be too far behind at this point. Owen is obviously still in there and he’s really strong at the remaining events so I wouldn’t be surprised if it came down to the wire. There is still a lot that can happen.”

As Slater alluded, Owen Wright has been on a competitive tear this season and has gone toe-to-toe with Slater in the finals of the last three events, faltering at Tahiti and Trestles but winning in New York. But in his Round 5 heat today against Jordy Smith, Owen failed to find his form and was eliminated from the event, putting a slight damper on his chance to challenge Slater’s rating’s lead.

For Jordy, who entered the European leg of the tour in eighth place, his showing today proved to be a confidence booster for the South African.

“I had a great time out there,” Smith said to the ASP. “I just approached it as a free surf. Obviously, Owen is in the title race and he has a bit of pressure on him. My girlfriend actually gave me the best advice as I didn’t have the best heat before. She said, ‘Babe, if it ain’t working, change it up.’ That’s what I did and it worked really well.”


Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.57, Taylor Knox (USA) 11.17, Jeremy Flores (FRA) N/S
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.83, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.80, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.83
Heat 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.10, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.10, Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.03

Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.43, Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.13, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.10


Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.53
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) Advances Over Jeremy Flores (FRA) *Flores withdraws due to ankle injury sustained in Round 3 of competition.
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.74 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.53
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.16 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.86
  • Nabuco

    Call the cops, the judges and sponsors gave it Kojac. He is the best, but he doesn´t need this unless quilSHITer wants him to be 11th, which in my toughts he already is and deserves. KJ is ripping like a kid, but that heat agains Medina, he lost.

  • jojo

    yeah, medina got robbed. but, it greatly benefits quiksilver (and the asp) to push slater straight through to the quarters. i mean, come on. a victory by .3? get outta here. but what no one is talking about (and they should be) is how travis logie got absolutely screwed in his heat against taj. now that was some b-llshit.

  • Danny

    Totally agree with Nabuco. Kelly is ripping and will win he’s 11 WT. He deserves it. But he lost fair and square against Medina

  • yours

    i dont know if i watched a different heat or if the other people who left comments dont watch as many heats as i do but if there is any ambiguity to that result it was slight at best. judges really really like those almost closeout waves…doesnt matter who it is or where it is…..turns can be half as good but when the wave is basically a closeout the judges reward any maneuver highly….let alone creepy speed tweaks like slaters first move on that wave was….so as far as the last exchange goes i think is fairly obvious to most fans that slater deserved the nod.

    and the first exchange was also super close…and shit gabriel got the nod so no more whining!!!

  • mike

    Medina got robbed…Slater gets an 8.33 for what at best is ……maybe a 7…that wave was Dog!$&* compared to Medina’s. Ask any WTC surfer what that score was…8.33…..not even Slater would say that s an 8.33…..WHERES BOBBY????

  • clambacon

    “Babe, if it ain’t working, change it up” Jordy smith. What he said was “if it aint broken don’t try fixing it”

  • Major Pain

    Huh? What Contest? I am still recovering from that recent Photo – Shoot by Stephnie Gilmore……..(Dayum)

  • Joe

    Anyone with a set of eyes and a brain knows that medinas air on his 8.23 was incomplete. Except maybe Jake. If Ur going to report on the event at least watch it properly