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Gabriel Medina won a hard-fought battle over dangerous wildcard Dane Reynolds and ‘Portuguese Tiger’ Tiago Pires in Round 1 today, taking him one step closer to becoming Brazil’s first-ever ASP World Title-holder.
“That was a hard heat,” Medina said. “Dane (Reynolds) is always scary and Tiago (Pires) has a lot of experience in these waves. I’m feeling good. My boards feel good and my surfing feels strong. France has a lot of special memories for me. I won the King of the Groms here and won my first WCT event here. I’m hoping to make more memories.”
While Medina advanced directly to Round 3, fellow title contenders Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning were both relegated to Round 2 by Matt Wilkinson and Jeremy Flores respectively.
Jeremy Flores, current No. 33 on the ASP WCT rankings, is into his eighth season amongst the world’s elite and, following a year which has witnessed poor results and misconduct suspensions, is currently fighting for his place on tour in 2015. The former Billabong Pipeline Master, Flores has been a perpetual standout at heavy water venues around the world, but has yet to collect a major result here in France.
“This is a big event for me,” Flores said. “I have had a tough year and I am fighting for my life on tour in these last three events. I’ve never had a strong result here in France and I’m hoping to change that this season. Getting a win over Mick (Fanning), who I respect so much, in these conditions gives me great confidence for the week ahead. I appreciate all the hometown support I’ve received.”
Michel Bourez, current ASP World No. 5, was another to benefit from the local support today. A native of French Polynesia in Tahiti, Bourez spent many years in the South of France developing his world-class surfing. A winner of WCT events this season in Margaret River and Rio de Janeiro, Bourez put on a master class at Les Gardians this morning, showcasing his unmatched power and rarely-seen aerial game.
“It was a great way to start the event,” Bourez said. “I feel very comfortable here. France is like my second home. The waves are fun today and I was able to try some more progressive surfing in my heat today. Stoked to get a win and very appreciative of all the support.”
Julian Wilson (AUS) is universally-regarded as one of the most dynamic surfers on the planet, but the young Australian has struggled to achieve results to match his talents this season. Currently sitting at ASP World No. 17, Wilson put on a dynamic performance in Round 1 today, relegating the ever-impressive John John Florence (HAW) and Jadson Andre (BRA) to Round 2 with some high-flying surfing.
“Feels great to get a heat win like that,” Wilson said. “I feel like I’ve been surfing well all year, but have had trouble translating that into results. To get win with surfing like that is good for the confidence. I feel like I’m due for a result this season. Hopefully we continue to get fun waves here in France.”
When competition resumes, up first will be 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) up against freesurfing virtuoso Dane Reynolds (USA) in the opening heat of Round 2.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver Pro France, are calling for:
Reinforcing swell due for the weekend, continuing into Monday of next week before easing.
Highligts from the Quiksilver Pro france will be available at ASPWorldTour.com
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd & 3rd to Round 2) :
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.16, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.97, Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.10
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.33, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.80, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.93
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.73, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.84
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.50, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.83, Kai Otton (AUS) 5.17
Heat 5: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67, Kelly Slater (USA) 14.50, Matt Banting (AUS) 13.43
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.56, Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.43
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.90, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.76, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.43
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.77, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.00, John John Florence (HAW) 12.73
Heat 9: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.16, Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.03, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.90
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.60, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.84, Nat Young (USA) 12.06
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.43, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.00, Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.14
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.23, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.00, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.43
Quiksilver Pro France Round Match-Ups (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd Finishes Equal 25th) :
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)