Pictured: Courtney Conlogue (USA) posted a near-perfect heat with 18.93 out of 20 possible. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot
SEIGNOSSE / HOSSEGOR / CAPBRETON, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Monday, October 7, 2019) – The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France continued today in excellent four-to-six foot surf at La Graviere to run through the third rounds of competition in both the men and women’s fields. Competitors took on the hollow peaks of one of the world’s premiere beach breaks for tubes and put on impressive performances for the large crowds once again assembled on the stretch of sand.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, stop No. 8 and 9 on the women and men’s 2019 World Surf League (WSL) CT respectively, have already witnessed their fair share of upsetting results in the context of the 2019 World Title races. Conditions favored the bold, as big sections were rewarded and a little bit of luck in positioning went a long way.
The world’s best female surfers took on the shifty peaks of La Graviere following the completion of the men’s round and the title race contenders showed their superiority in the tricky surf.
After shocking the world with one of, if not the deepest barrel ever made at the Surf Ranch a few weeks ago, French surfer Johanne Defay reiterated the feat this time on a Hossegor bomb. The Reunion Island surfer completely disappeared from view on a frothy right, rode the foam ball and exited cleanly to post an incredible 9 point ride. She quickly backed it up with a solid 7.00 on backhand turns to eliminate Brisa Hennessy (HAW) and move into the Quarters.
“I’m so stoked it was super tricky out there and it’s definitely the best barrel I’ve gotten at La Graviere,” said Defay. “It’s awesome to do it in these conditions and I guess I got some good practice at the Ranch! I feel really supported and I love the crowds here, but I have my little place away from the beach and I’m able to get some good rest so it’s perfect.”
Courtney Conlogue Finds Perfection in France
When everyone thought Defay pushed the limits of barrel riding in her heat, the defending event winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) decided the bar could be raised a touch higher. In the opening minute of her heat against Roxy wildcard Vahine Fierro (PYF), the Californian locked into a bigger, cleaner wave on her backhand and rode a long and technical tube, exiting right before the shutdown for the first perfect 10 point ride of the event.
Conditions continued to fire as the sun started to set on a picture-perfect La Graviere lineup, and Conlogue found another incredible wave, pulled into another big barrel on her forehand this time to post an excellent 8.93 and definitely burry Fierro’s last hopes of a comeback.
“I love barrels,” said Conlogue. “I think it was 30 seconds in when I saw that wave and I got so excited, I was like ‘keep cool, just keep cool’. It was such a fun heat, I got the lineup to myself and waves were so much fun. Quarterfinals is a new start but honestly I just want to keep getting barreled.”
The current Jeep Yellow Jersey Carissa Moore (HAW) found a rare two-maneuver wave on her backhand to post a solid 7 point ride and take a win over compatriot Coco Ho (HAW), moving into the Quarterfinals. In 8 years participating in the Roxy Pro France, Moore has never been stopped before the Semifinals and she’ll be a favorite for the win when the event resumes.
“It’s pretty tough to get scores out there so I just went for waves hoping they’d open up,” said Moore. “Every heat is so important, I’m just trying to surf and enjoy myself. Everything is really close and I’m just grateful to be in this position, it’s been a few years. Being out of the title race for a few years has really given me perspective and I’m just super thankful.”
World No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA) scored her best two rides with single, backhand maneuvers in the thick lips of La Graviere to eliminate Silvana Lima (BRA) in equal 9th place. The lone surfer with two wins to her name this season, Peterson is a former runner-up in France and she’ll need another big result this season to stay in contention heading into the final two events of 2019.
“It’s so hard and right on the shore so two turns would get an excellent score,” said Peterson. “This type of conditions level the playing field so much, you have to compete really smart, it’s tricky and adds some stress for sure. I’m pretty stoked on how I performed, in the past I think that’s the kind of heat where I could have crumbled but I felt pretty focused. I’m definitely more calm and relaxed that I was in the same situation here last year. I feel like I’ve put all the hard work in and I just want to have fun and rise to the occasion.”
French Wildcard Lacomare Posts Day’s Upset as La Graviere Fires
French Wildcard Lacomare Posts Day’s Upset as La Graviere Fires – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot
Quiksilver wildcard Marc Lacomare (FRA) posted the day’s upset as he eliminated the current World No. 2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) in their Round of 32 matchup this morning. The Hossegor local found the tubes in a lineup he knows perfectly and built a healthy 12.83 total while Toledo struggled to identify the right opportunities. The Brazilian answered with a deep and technical barrel ride for a 7.10, the highest single score of the heat.
Left chasing an average number, Toledo went to the air but came up just short and Lacomare added another scalp to his list on home turf. When given the same opportunity in 2017, the Frenchman eliminated Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) on his way to an incredible 5th place finish in Hossegor.
“I just focused on trying to catch the good waves and it was much tougher than I originally thought,” said Lacomare. “I really only got two in 45 minutes but fortunately I made them count. It’s really emotional to compete here at home in front of so many friends and family, and it’s nice to surf in good waves.”
Slightly diminished by a back injury sustained at the recent Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, Toledo will have to settle for a second, equal 17th place result in France, and will need to make his last two events of the 2019 Championship Tour count for a shot at a first World Title.
“I did everything I could on that last wave but unfortunately that wave was really short,” said Toledo. “Congrats to Marc, he started the heat really well and that made all the difference in the end. I was really confident out there thinking one wave would come my way, so I waited but it was just not my day.”
Medina Finds Resources to Keep Impeccable French Track Record
Pictured: In a barrel-plagued heat, Medina went to air and turns for the win. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel
A few heats later, reigning 2X WSL Champion and current Jeep Frontrunner Gabriel Medina (BRA) scrapped through a low scoring affair against young wildcard Marco Mignot (FRA) to keep his France impeccable track record unscathed. Mignot had the better start and had Medina against the ropes for the vast majority of their 46 minutes battle, but the Brasilian managed to come back in the dying moments of the heat and eliminated Mignot in equal 17th.
“I tried to get my waves but it was a challenge,” said Medina. “I’m stoked to make it through and just hope conditions get easier from now. I feel like I haven’t really surfed yet although I’ve taken so many waves in these first two heats.”
Portugal’s Frederico Morais found the first gem of the morning, locking into a bomb in the first heat to post a 9.17 out of 10. Unfortunately that wave came late in the heat for Morais, whereas World No. 3 Jordy Smith (ZAF) had built a strong combination with two barrels early on. Morais got a final opportunity on his backhand but failed to exit the barrel and the South African Smith moved on to the Round of 16.
“I think every heat is important regardless, whether it’s guys trying to re-qualify or for myself eyeing down the title race,” said Smith. “I need to get a win, it’s really simple for me. You just have to focus on getting those good waves, France is one of those locations that can go any way, with the tides and those beach breaks. Frederico got one of the best waves of the event and nearly made another one, if he did I could have been comboed, so I was just lucky to kind of chip away.”
After five events on the sideline due to a shoulder injury, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) kept his return to competition just as triumphant as on opening day, taking a buzzer-beater win over the 11X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA). The Italian, considered by many on the beach as a Hossegor local, found a deep cover on a long right and posted an excellent 8.33 to turn the heat and eliminate the Floridian.
Kolohe Andino (USA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) advanced into the Round of 16, as opposed to Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) who fell short in his battle with Jack Freestone (AUS). In the ‘bubble-battle’ between Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Yago Dora (BRA), respectively 20th and 22nd on the rankings, it was Dora who came out on top despite Colapinto’s highest score of 8.23.
The French contingent lost half his representatives today with Mignot, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) and Joan Duru (FRA) edged out in the Round of 32. Jeremy Flores (FRA), Michel Bourez (FRA) and Marc Lacomare (FRA) will keep the blue, white and red flag going into the Round of 16.
The next call will be on Tuesday, October 8, at 8:30 a.m. Event organizers will assess the conditions and decide the day’s competition schedule.