Credit: © ASP/ CI/ CESTARI via GETTY IMAGES
SEIGNOSSE, France (Saturday, September 26, 2009) – The Quiksilver Pro France presented by Orange completed an action-packed Round 3 today, and despite the smaller one-to-three foot (0.5 – 1 metre) waves on offer at Les Bourdaines, the world’s best surfers flew electric in front of a capacity crowd on the beach.
Event No. 7 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France ran in unexpectedly clean conditions today, and proved to be one of the most exciting days of competition so far this season, with massive scores and big upsets seemingly on call throughout the round.
Patrick Beven (FRA), 31, who earned his seed into the event through the Moskova Trials, caused the upset of the Quiksilver Pro France thus far, eliminating current ASP World No. 1 Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, in Round 3 of competition. The Round 3 chess match saw the lead flip back-and-forth until the dying moments when Beven exploded on a set lefthander to secure a 6.87 out of a possible 10 and the win.
“It’s the kind of lefthanders I like surfing and it was a good heat,” Beven said. “I am stoked right now. I am fighting for France and the Euroforce. I haven’t qualified for the ASP World Tour yet, but I am showing I can surf and do well in this event. I am over the moon right now.”
A local to the South of France, Beven enjoyed the support of the hundreds of spectators at the water’s edge today, as they supported the hometown hero in his thwarting of the current ASP World No. 1.
“It’s great to get that kind of heat wins in front such a huge supporting crowd, and to beat the world No. 1 is even better,” Beven said. “Seeing everyone get together behind us French and European surfers and that’s what the Euroforce is all about. A big thanks to all people putting the event up, it’s a great time every year for all of us.”
Beven will face Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, in Round 4 of the Quiksilver Pro France.
Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, surfed immediately following Parkinson’s elimination, with many assuming the Floridian would immediately capitalize on the opportunity to gain some ground on the ASP World Tour ratings. However, it was his opponent, wildcard and current ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) No. 7, Joan Duru (FRA), 20, that opened up the heat with an incredible 9.17 out of a possible 10.
Despite being on the ropes from the outset, Slater patiently built momentum throughout the heat, and in the face of Duru failing to secure a solid backup wave, netted an impressive 8.90 out of a possible 10 in the last minutes to take the win and advance through to Round 4.
“I opened up with a pretty good wave but turned around to see Joan (Duru) bang out his 9.17,” Slater said. “As I was paddling out, I knew I was working the math out in my head as to what I’d have to do to come back. My board seemed to work out perfectly for those conditions – I’d never ridden it before, but it’s a similar template to one I’d been riding, a light, little epoxy. Joan didn’t ever really find a backup score and I was able to grab a good one right at the end there. Pretty happy to come back there.”
With the elimination of ASP ratings’ frontrunner, the opportunity to gain ground exists for a number of ASP Top seeds, Slater amongst them. Despite the Parkinson’s stumble, the Floridian remains cautious when calculating his 2009 ASP World Title chances.
“I don’t really smell blood yet,” Slater said. “I think I’m still in the forest trying to find him (Parkinson).”
Slater will take on lethal 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, when Quiksilver Pro France competition resumes.
In addition to the ASP World Title drama that went down on Day 3 of the Quiksilver Pro France, some of the best surfing of the event was executed by some of the sport’s most progressive characters.
Dane Reynolds (USA), 23, current ASP World No. 11, proved the form surfer of the day, blending explosive aerials with searing carves to net the highest heat total of the event, an 18.27 out of a possible 20. Bucking the traditional thruster model, Reynolds opted for a shorter, wider board with big side fins and a small trailer fin. The result was revelatory.
“The waves were pretty bad and I couldn’t take it too serious on a shortboard,” Dane said. “The waves were still really fun though. It’s not flat and there were still some good sections to get speed on and get some airs. I had fun out there. I am riding an MTF (Merrick Twin Fin). It’s just a copy of one of Rob Machado’s old ones. It felt good today in these waves, with two big side-fins and one smaller one in the middle. I was scared to ride this board because it was catching rail yesterday, but it was going pretty good today. I just figured that I’d have a lot more fun on this thing.”
Riding high following an equal 3rd place finish in South Africa and a runner-up finish last week in Southern California, Reynolds is proving to be one of the most dangerous surfers on tour.
“I like it here in France,” Reynolds said. “The waves can be really similar to home and punchy and fun. We haven’t had too many waves though so hopefully it picks up.”
Reynolds will face Bede Durbidge (AUS), 26, in the opening heat of Round 4 when competition recommences.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8am for a possible 8:15am start.
Highlights from today’s Quiksilver Pro France will be available at www.quiksilverlive.com