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France Day 1: “Julian Wilson choked out!”


by Longtom

Professional surfing is back with surprising highs and unsurprising lows!

What do you believe in my friends? Existentially. God? Dead.

Sure, it’s taking a while to bury the body but deady bones. The Ocean? Even though the transcendent Steph Gilmore told us the ocean is magnetic, now we know the Not-Ocean is the future.She said so. Liberalism, humanism, secularism, communism, feminism blah blah? All about to be crushed under the heel of techno-utopianism and algorithms. It’s a done deal, shipmates.

The cruellest shattering of illusion? Now we can’t even believe in the perfectly meaningless entertainment of watching fit young(ish) men and gals gyrating on waves for our pleasure. Head judge Richie Porte has confirmed that the magnificent broadcast from the WSL (Speakers’ enduring and crowning achievement), all those glorious slo-mo’s and different angles, are nothing more than illusions offering unreliable testimony with no relation to actual reality. He said so.

What the fuck is real now that Pro Surfing has declared war on reality? Sharks? Opioids? Waitresses?

You know the sound of gallic indifference? A shrug of the shoulders and the deflating tyre through pursed lips: pfffftttt. That was the first four heats of the Quik Pro France held in new swell on a gloomy Atlantic as wobbly as fresh set gelatine.

Enter Italo Ferreira, with the charisma and machismo of an Australian fast bowler on a 70’s tour of the West Indies. He threw ham on a rye baguette at the French sky on his opening wave, a huge rotation landed clean as a whistle to underscore his critical underdog status for CT 2017. Not just criminally underscored at crucial junctures but misunderstood, by Pottz in particular. Martin thinks he sees something but sees nothing more than his own misperceptions when it comes to Italo.

John Florence answers back with a straight air sticking a thorny landing and using what he termed “composure” to start hacking away at clean french walls to overtake Italo. Two thoughts: 1. Thanks be to Allah that accidental champion Keanu Asing didn’t upset Florence again and 2. there will only be one true and unassailable travesty come the ASP banquet at Turtle Bay this year, and it won’t be Kelly Slater’s dress sense. It’ll be someone other than John John Florence hoisting the World Title trophy skywards. I will lose my composure if that happens.

I tend to think of the European leg as the hardest slog for spectating, with the French myth in particular as one of the worst oversold hype jobs in the surf world. More often than not it’s brutal closeouts and low percentage dross winning heats. Not today. By Jordy’s heat the sun was shining, spray rainbowing seaward of groomed walls….buttery. Dreamy. Jordy put his body into it like a springbok flanker, translating body mass into displaced water, for a convincing win.

Everyone has their weaknesses. Big Jordy’s is heavy water, Gabriel Medina has sleepy starts to the season and a fiery temper that throws him off balance. Mine is waitresses. I’d swap all the qat in Yemen for a sharp tongued , snaggle toothed waitress with a well thumbed copy of Simone De Beauvoir in a rucksack who looks like she’d been messing where she shouldn’t be messing. French or Southern Californian. Oh I’m only speaking theoretical, friends. I have my gal and my keikis and I wouldn’t risk that love for all the waitresses in the world. That is one thing I share with Joel Parkinson. We keep tight with our fams.

Parko has gone greybeard but he still laid down the smoothest, most classical arcs. Diary of the working man as artist, the Joel Parkinson Documentary will be ready for theatrical release Fall 2019. Investors welcome. In the interim, he proceeds.

Rewinding, Gabe Medina applied lethal force to sculpted french beachbreaks, very much underscored on a final wave that didn’t affect the result to escort Leo Fioravanti and Jeremy Flores to round two. Toledo shuffled off after an indifferent heat in pain with a hip/rib injury that spells the end of his Title aspirations.

Seabass got shacked in the shorebreak, Ian Gouveia plugged away and Ace surfed better than Kolohe and Zeke in a thirty minute period in the south of France. The Lofty Backhand Float was the manoeuvre du jour.

Twelve heats and not one mention of The People. The Outsider has become the most coveted position in surf writing, in fact the default position – Je suis L’Etranger – a stance I look upon with wry amusement. Sure, it’s not just surfing and surf writing, Trump took the Whitehouse playing it. The cultural takeover was complete when Joey Turpel referred to a non-descript ride from Connor O’Leary as a “working man’s wave”. Ladies and gentlemen, our work is done. Whats happening with the WSL/media boycott? I never got the memo. (Ed’s note: It is on for the final’s day unless otherwise noted.)

Ps: Rnd two. Marc Lacomare chokes out a listless Julian Wilson.
Owen Wright knocks out the last year’s winner Keanu Asing. I am relieved. Not because I have anything against Asing. It’s just one less honest meat and potato slugger to knock out John Florence. I’m a traitor to the people because I loathe the honest slugger.

Fade to unconsciousness.

Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.77, Conner Coffin (USA) 6.33
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 11.00, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.17, Owen Wright (AUS) 7.20
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.77, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.50, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.76
Heat 4: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.57, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.33, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.13
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 15.67, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 5.10
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.10, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 12.70, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.47
Heat 7: Joan Duru (FRA) 18.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.14
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.86, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.27, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.26
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.20, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.96, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.40
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.74, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.74, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.57
Heat 11: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.57, Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.27, Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.16
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.60, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.63, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.60

Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.27 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.23
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.97 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.27 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.50
Heat 5: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 14.60 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.87
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.26 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.37
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.50 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.60
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.20 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.84

Remaining Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 11: Conner Coffin (USA) vs.Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)