In consecutive heats! Wins Quiksilver Pro France!
Finals day of the Quik Pro! Carissa Moore won the battle, but Tyler Wright won the war! Champion of the world! Campeon del mundo! I don’t speak any other languages.
Good for her. I can’t properly express how much I love the lady and the power she’s brought to the women’s tour. It’s always kind of a bummer when the title doesn’t come down to Pipe, but the ladies don’t compete at Pipe, so that was a stupid thing to write.
Plenty of excitement on the men’s side too. Finals day saw fun looking surf. A little disappointing, we’re all hoping for sandy brown dredgers. But it was competition worthy. Shoulder-high to a grown man, glassy, the type of surf that’d have you salivating at your local. It’d be jammed packed to the gills crowded, and you’d probably leave the water angry, but in those few blissful moments before you paddled out you’d be on top of the world.
Keanu Asing has been on fire the entire event. Surfing smart, surfing well. Doing what it takes to win these days. Doing it flawlessly.
His semi-final heat against the tour leader was busy busy busy. Twenty waves between the two surfers, split down the middle.
The conditions handed Asing a pretty hefty advantage. His diminutive size meant that, while Florence was surfing slightly weak shoulder high lefts, Keanu was going top to bottom on overhead walls.
Asing grabbed the lead early, Double-J snatched it back with a double tap to kick slide reverse. A paddle battle for priority ensued. Florence won it, grabbed the first wave of the set, left Asing out the back to pick up the better one.
Florence grabbed the lead, but he wasn’t surfing as well as he could. Asing was surfing the best he ever has, within the confines of a heat. I’ve never seen him freesurf.
I’m writing it off to the the size advantage Asing enjoyed, but they looked like they were surfing on different days.
Keanu drove the first nail in JJF’s coffin at the midway point. Grabbed one outside, put everything he could into each turn, hopped across the flat section and smacked the oncoming lip pretty hard. 8.67. Backed it up immediately with an 8.1 on his next. Put John John in a hole he couldn’t dig himself out of.
Florence didn’t lay down, gave it his best. Found an 8.4 with roughly three and a half minutes left. Solid backhand smacks, a cool little lip clicker backside ollie 180 halfway through. But the judges aren’t really rewarding that level of kinda-aerial surfing these days. Nor should they.
Florence needed an 8.38 as the heat wound down. Twenty seconds left and a likely number rolled through, but Asing played smart, used his priority, and surfed it to the beach. Extended his lead, and grabbed the second best result of his career so far.
Sucks for John John, but still… third place is pretty solid. He retained the tour lead going into Portugal. With only two events left, and one of them being Pipe, you know Florence can taste the trophy.
Up next was Kolohe/Medina. Another busy heat, another twenty waves ridden.
Asing dropped a classic quote during his interview with Mel.
My body’s little. Running up the sand and stuff, it’s hard.
The swell delivered a nice pulse early on, both surfers put it to use. Kolohe with two solid turns and a fall on the end lip climb/floater thing. Medina tore the bag out of the following for an 6.33. Andino got the better score, a 7.33, which was confusing. But totally inconsequential as Medina’s next wave put them both to shame.
It was an impressive display of tactical confidence. Medina dropped out mid paddle battle, spun around on a crumbly left, left Kolohe to grab priority.
Two okay speed taps, the second off balance. It lined up, he pumped hard and boosted a big lofty alley oop. Stomped it perfectly. Then he did something I loved. He didn’t claim shit. He kept surfing! Tossed three nice little maneuvers onto the end. Put a stamp on it. Took the lead. 8.83.
The pulse disappeared and the next twenty-odd minutes saw the pair do their best with what the ocean offered. Which wasn’t a hell of a lot. Kolohe put in work, caught another seven waves, but couldn’t find anything the judges loved.
Holding priority with two minutes left, Andino took off on a bigger wave that looked to hold the potential for the score he needed. But he chose poorly, it fattened up like a freshman college girl, ending with Medina out the back holding priority as the clock wound down.
Twenty seconds left, Medina grabbed an inside puppy that stood up for him, top to bottom combo’ed it all the way. Finished with a go straight, “I’ve won” chop hop. Nine point zero. I wonder, if he’d fallen on that, would the judges have deducted points? Mysteries abound.
Kolohe caught one more wave, but Medina’d put him in a combo with his last, and that was all she wrote.
I’m not good with numbers, but this puts Kolohe, theoretically, in the title race, yeah? I mean, he’d pretty much have to win the next two events, but…
The men went on pause while Carissa and Wright paddled out for the final. As I’ve mentioned, Moore won it. By a wide margin. But that didn’t really matter because second place put Tyler Wright far enough in front of the pack to clinch her first title.
Asing and Medina. Tough draw for the Hawaiian, no way I’d bet on him. But you can’t script this shit! Right? Right!?!?
The surf dropped, neither surfer delivered anything magic. Asing continued to stay low and make it look like it was six feet rather than two.
Medina seemed rattled. Wasn’t surfing his best. Delivered a career highlight fuck-up with 1:38 left.
It was a small, closeout right. Not a good wave, but you never know with Medina. Two pumps and a backflip could be dropped, if he gets lucky.
So Asing played tactics, paddled in from the shoulder with priority to hold Medina off. Gabriel kicked out, clipping Asing with the nose of his board as he went.
Honestly, it looked like he barely touched Keanu. The Hawaiian could’ve probably made the drop no problem.
But this is sport. I’m not calling it a dive. Asing drew a foul. Masterful. Always delicious to see Gabby on the wrong side of a tactical blunder.
Interference! Though, unless I’m mistaken, it didn’t really matter. Asing had the scores he needed to win regardless. No asterisk needed. He used his talent, not tactics.
And that’s how Keanu Asing won a fucking world tour event. I didn’t see it coming. Did you? Yes? You’re lying.
Asing moves up to 21st, above the cutoff. I sincerely hope he maintains his momentum. I love the little guy.
Watch highlights here!
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE FINAL RESULTS:
1- Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.94
2- Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.00
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 16.94 def. John John Florence (HAW) 16.07
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.03
WSL Women’s Top 5 (after Roxy Pro France):
1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 67,700
2. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 59,400
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 54,400
4. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 48,400
5. Johanne Defay (FRA) 43,650
WSL Men’s Top 5 (after Quiksilver Pro France):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 48,150
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 38,250
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,700
5. Kolohe Andino (USA) 32,150