HOSSEGOR, France (Thursday, October 12, 2017) - Following an opening weekend dedicated to women’s action and three consecutive lay days, the Quiksilver Pro France launched in epic conditions at La Graviere. A new swell pushed clean offshore waves in the six-to-eight foot range (1.8 - 2.4 metre) for the men’s first round and eight heats of the second.
The opening two heats of Stop No. 9 of the men’s World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) got off to a slow start as the lineup was still settling from a windy afternoon yesterday. Top seeds Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Owen Wright (AUS) suffered Round Two relegations at the hands of Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Nat Young (USA), respectively.
“I was feeling a bit tired this morning but I’m so happy to finally win a Round One heat,” Kennedy said. “I haven’t won a three-man heat in a CT since Trestles last year, so it feels good to finally put it together.”
“It definitely feels good to skip Round Two, that thing is always deadly,” Young said. “It’s always good to have a heat when the waves are fun. It’s tough to come up against the higher seeds in Round Three, too, whether it’s John (Florence) or Jordy (Smith) or whoever that is at every event, but right now I have no pressure so I’ll just go out there and do my thing.”
World No. 4 Matt Wilkinson (AUS) was the first top seed to click into gear, taking his backhand vertical attack to the clean Graviere rights to post two good scores and advance straight into Round Three. Aussie compatriot Josh Kerr (AUS) narrowly missed the landing of a couple of aerial maneuvers that could have turned the heat but in the end, the slightly safer approach of Wilkinson won the heat.
“It was so fun out there, the tide came in quickly and I knew it was going to move in and become a bit chunkier,” Wilkinson said. “That first 7 was kind of exactly what I was looking for. It’s good to surf waves that have a bit of power, you just pick a line and push as hard as you can. I’m excited coming into this leg. I love surfing here and in Portugal when the forecast is good. If I just keep winning heats and find myself at the two end of these two events I’m definitely going to be back up there for Pipe.”
Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Ethan Ewing (AUS) teamed up in Heat 4 to relegate one more top seed to Round Two in Julian Wilson (AUS). Ibelli was the first surfer to find a good hollow section on the lefts to score a deep barrel for a near-excellent score. But, it was rookie Ewing and an inspired performance on the rights that won him his first Round One win this season. Ewing let loose on a beautiful set wave and put together a combination of three major carves for an 8.40, the biggest score of the day at that point.
“It’s been hard on the CT with waves that I thought were good and scores that weren’t,” Ewing explained. “So I’ll take it when it comes my way. I’m putting less pressure on myself coming into the back half of the year, just trying to have fun and show what I can do.”
Italo Ferreira (BRA) started his Round One heat the best possible way, launching into a massive backhand rotation in the Graviere shorebreak to post a near-perfect 9.50 in the opening minutes. But when facing the reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW), one big score is never going to be enough, and the Hawaiian went to the air as well to post a couple of big numbers and take the win over Ferreira and defending event champion Keanu Asing (HAW).
“I didn’t see his wave, but I heard everyone freaking out and I knew it was a big score, he’s always going to do something massive especially in those conditions,” Florence said. “I was starting to get my composure back towards the end of that heat and got a couple waves.”
World No. 1 Jordy Smith (ZAF) put on a power-surfing clinic on his forehand in the following heat, dominating a Round One battle with talented Frenchman and event wildcard Marc Lacomare (FRA) as well as CT sophomore Kanoa Igarashi (USA). Smith’s flawless approach on the overhead sets won him a 16.10 heat total for a spot into Round Three.
“It’s got a lot of power out there I’m kind of psyched on the conditions, it’s so buttery it’s really nice when you get that open face you can really lay down some tracks,” Smith said. “I never take a three-man heat lightly -- I always try my best to skip those. My boards are feeling really good. It’s kind of the usual that I normally ride and when there’s a bit more power in the waves, my boards seem to love it so I’m stoked!”
Local hero Joan Duru (FRA) galvanized the massive crowds enjoying a picture-perfect day in Southwest France in Heat 7. Duru found two absolute bombs in the opening four minutes of his match-up with Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA) and built an incredible 18-point total to combo his two opponents. Duru’s backhand barrel skills came at the perfect time when La Graviere started pulsing deep sections and his punctuation marks under the lip finished the job. A last barrel from Duru in the dying seconds of the heat continued to keep the fans on their toes even if the score was not a substantial one.
“I got a little hometown luck, paddling back from the other side of the peak and getting a wave straight to me,” Duru admitted. “And then paddling back out getting that barrel again. I’m really stoked. I’m lucky Maud (Le Car) was here to run and bring mea board when I broke mine. My main focus is to re-qualify. The rookie of the year race is interesting, but I want to solidify my spot on tour first then see what happens.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA) took on two Hossegor locals as well with Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) in Heat 8. The Brazilian, a two-time winner at the Quiksilver Pro France, engaged in a back-and-forth battle for the lead with Flores while the Italian rookie struggled a little bit more to find waves. Ultimately, it was a backhand combination of radical turns from Medina that won him the heat.
“I love this kind of beach break,” Medina said. “You have so many options to surf. Today was a bit tricky, but I’m happy with the two waves I surfed. Both Leo (Fioravanti) and Jeremy (Flores) spend more time here than anyone on tour, so it was a tough heat but I have spent a bit of time here too and it’s one of the best places for me to get a result.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS) managed to walk through a firework-less heat against Jack Freestone (AUS) and Michel Bourez (PYF) and logically claimed a ticket for Round Three, linking together a couple of nice waves with his signature stylish approach on the clean rights.
Sebastian Zietz (HAW) put a hurdle on Connor O'Leary’s (AUS) Rookie of the Year race, pushing the talented Australian and Jadson Andre (BRA) into the elimination Round Two. Zietz’ marine sense was put to the test and the Hawaiian threaded the long rights perfectly, even finding a deep barrel section close to shore for his highest score of 8.17.
“That’s probably the easiest way to get scores, go straight through the barrel,” Zietz said. “I was kind of lost out there, with a couple giant sets and some white water all the way across. It was kind of a low-scoring heat but I found a lucky little tube and I’m glad I stayed with that one.”
Ian Gouveia (BRA) upset three-time WSL Champion and multiple event winner in France, Mick Fanning (AUS), as well as Frederico Morais (PRT) in their Round One match-up. Adrian Buchan (AUS) took out the final ticket for Round Three, sending Kolohe Andino (USA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) to the second round.
Round Two of the Quiksilver Pro France launched with a massive upset when talented wildcard Marc Lacomare (FRA) defeated current World No. 3 Julian Wilson (AUS). A rather slow heat saw both surfers exchange scores in the six points range. A final set came right before the buzzer to give Lacomare and Wilson a final opportunity. The Frenchman started on a big left and performed three turns to post a 7.27 and eliminate Wilson.
“World No. 1 or 2 or 3 it doesn’t really matter, all those surfers surf sogood,” Lacomare said. “I just tried to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to surf at home, and tried to have fun and be smart. Every heat I make against those guys is definitely a confidence boost, it will probably help with the last few events of the QS.”
Wilson, who won the Billabong Pro Tahiti and in August, struggled to back up the result with a deceiving 9th in Trestles and his worst finish all year with a 25th in France. With only two events left after France, the Australian’s World Title hopes could be seriously jeopardized if his direct competition,Florence and Smith, go a long way at La Graviere.
“It was a tough heat, it’s shifty out there and a long way out to sea,” Wilson explained. “I didn’t finish two waves that would have probably changed the result of that heat. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the win, this is my poorest result this year but it’s the way it goes. The World Title is my biggest motivation and that was a bit of a dagger in my hopes for that this year. But, I’ve won those next two events before and I’ll look forward to them.”
The next upset came from Miguel Pupo (BRA), who eliminated fellow Brazilian athlete and recent winner in Trestles Filipe Toledo (BRA). Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) continued the trend of upsets in Round Two by eliminating current Rookie of the Year leader Connor O'Leary (AUS).
Frederico Morais (PRT), Kolohe Andino (USA) and Mick Fanning (AUS) took the final three heats out to move into Round Three and avoid an equal 25th finish in Hossegor.
Event officials and surfers will reconvene tomorrow at 8 a.m for a probable start of the remaining heats of the Quiksilver Pro France Round Two. The Roxy Pro France Semifinals will also be on standby.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, are calling for:
Medium size NW swell will ease through Friday and fade further during the first half of Saturday as favorable wind continues. An even larger swell will fill in for Sunday, building Saturdayafternoon/evening and dropping on Monday. Another strong WNW swell looks increasingly likely for Tuesday before fading Wednesday, although wind conditions may be tricky.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL’s Facebook page. Also check local listings for coverage on CBS Sports Network in the U.S., Fox Sports in Australia, ESPN in Brazil, Sky NZ in New Zealand, SFR Sports in France and Portugal, Sport TV in Portugal and the EDGEsport Network.
For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to worldsurfleague.com or the WSL mobile app.
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)
Cape Town Surfriders Clinch Freedom Cup at Billabong SA Junior Champs pres. by BOS
Cape Town Surfriders clinched the coveted Freedom Cup for the team accumulating the highest points across all divisions at the 2017 Billabong SA Junior Champs presented by BOS, which was completed in excellent one metre waves at the Lower Point in Jeffreys Bay today (Sunday).
The victory margin was the closest in the 21 history of the trophy with the team from Cape Town reclaiming the cup they won in 2015 by scoring just 63 points more than their arch rivals from eThekweni. The Capetonians also claimed two of the eight individual national titles at stake and provided five of the 32 finalists, earning a total of 42,840 points.
eThekweni (42,777) finished runners-up with hosts and defending team champions Nelson Mandela Bay (41,792) in third place and Buffalo City (40,277) in fourth. They were followed in the team standings by Cape Winelands, Ugu, Eden, debutants Ilembe and the SA Development Academy.
The 2017 edition of the national junior championships will be remembered for the incredible waves across all five days with sunshine, whales sightings, great memories and after an excellent final day a new set of champions will have their names inscribed in the annals of South Africa surfing history.
Ford Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) was consistent throughout the U18 boys’ division, winning every single heat he contested. He was elated to improve on his runner up position in the u/17 boys’ division at SA champs last year by claiming the premier boys’ title this year.
Nelson Mandela Bay surfer Joshe Faulkner was relegated to second place by a mere 0.21of a point leaving Koby Oberholzer (eThekweni) and Adin Masencamp (Cape Winelands) in third and fourth places respectively.
Kirsty McGillivray (Nelson Mandela Bay) added another SA title to her name with her powerful and precise surfing, capturing the crown in the dying seconds of the u/18 girls final. Nina Harmse (Eden) maintained her runner-up berth from last year while goofy foot Natasha Van Greunen (Cape Winelands) finished third above her teammate Sarah Ingram in a heat with few waves.
After a heat total of 19.47 in his semi final earlier in the day, Eli Beukes had unshakeable confidence in the u/16 boys final, sealing his title with a big air-reverse on his last wave. Aya Gericke (Eden) read the waves beautifully for a second place finish above Saxton Randall (eThekweni). After a rocky start Angelo Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay) went for broke with a huge aerial manoeuvre but was unable to stick the landing and had to settle for fourth place.
The talented u/16 girls had a slow final but Nelson Mandela Bay surfer and J-Bay local Kai Woolf knew just the right waves to pick to claim another SA title with her ferocious backhand attack. Runner-up S’nenhlanhla Makhubu (eThekweni) was a good match for Woolf on her backhand and held the highest single score in the final, an 8.5, but struggled to find a heat winning back up ride. Tayla De Coning (Buffalo City) was narrowly bumped to third place with Summer Sutton (Cape Town Surfriders) finishing fourth.
The u/14 boys were blowing up throughout the contest but in the end it was Buffalo City’s Mitch Du Preez who claimed his first SA title with a total of 16.44, despite only surfing three waves in the 20 minute final. Teammate Daniel Emslie finished close behind in second place ahead of Luke Thompson (eThekweni) and Kye Macgregor (Nelson Mandela Bay).
Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City) had a fantastic final in the u/14 girls, dominating proceedings and winning with a 16.33 heat total. Katie Winter (Cape Town Surfriders) finished in second place leaving Lhea Johnston (Buffalo City) and Ceara Knight (Cape Winelands) in third and fourth place respectively.
The u/12 groms were a pleasure to watch as they fearlessly charged the overhead waves. In the girls final Gabbi Herbst (eThekweni) held the lead with a series of great scores while Scarlette Van Jaarsveldt (Cape Town Surfriders) earned a well warranted second place in her first SA champs. In third was Nelson Mandela Bay rider Zia Hendricks and in fourth was Maya Figl (Cape Winelands).
The charismatic Kyra Bennie (Cape Winelands) was chaired from the water’s edge to the podium by his teammates after taking out the u/12 boys’ title. Nate Colby (eThekweni), who on Saturday scored the only perfect ten-point ride of the contest, finished runner-up while Ethan Currin (Buffalo City) edged into third place ahead of River Gericke (Eden).
“This event has been amazing with awesome waves every day here at Lower Point!” enthused Billabong South Africa Marketing Manager, Chad Darcy. “The surfing standard has been really high – the groms have been blowing up and it’s great to see some new faces claim the titles. From Billabong’s point of view we are really stoked, it’s a great way to end the 2017 contest season.”
There were a number of specialty awards at stake with newly crowned SA U16 boys’ champ Eli Beukes (Cape Town Surfriders) claiming both the BOS Highest Heat Score and the VonZipper Airshow prizes. The Wazoogles Surfer of the Event for Boys went to Nate Colby (eThekweni) and for Girls to Caroline Brown (Cape Town Surfriders). The Skull Candy Loud & Proud trophy for the team displaying the best spirit throughout the five-day event went to the enthusiastic team from Ugu on the KZN South Coast.
2017 Billabong SA Junior Champs pres. by BOS
1st Cape Town Surfriders 42,840
2nd eThekweni 42,777
3rd Nelson Mandela Bay 41,792
4th Buffalo City 40,277
5th Cape Winelands 37,679
6th Ugu 28,052
7th Eden 25,969
8TH Ilembe 15,220
9th SA Development Academy 13,022
1st Ford van Jaarsveldt 13.90 CTS
2nd Joshe Faulkner 13.70 NMBS
3rd Koby Oberholzer 12.16 ETK
4th Adin Masencamp 12.04 CW
1st Kirsty McGillivray 12.00 NMBS
2nd Nina Harmse 9.83 Eden
3rd Natasha van Greunen 7.83 CW
4th Sarah Ingram 4.13 CW
1st Eli Beukes 16.90 CTS
2nd Aya Gericke 14.37 Eden
3rd Saxton Randall 10.17 ETK
4th Angelo Faulkner 9.16 NMBS
1st Kai Woolf 14.17 NMBS
2nd S'nenhlanhla Makhubu 11.83 ETK
3rd Tayla de Coning 11.23 BC
4th Summer Sutton 9.20 CTS
1st Mitch du Preez 16.44 BC
2nd Daniel Emslie 14.90 BC
3rd Luke Thompson 11.67 ETK
4th Kye Macgregor 7.27 NMBS
1st Zoe Steyn 16.33 BC
2nd Katie Winter 11.67 CTS
3rd Lhea Johnston 9.13 BC
4th Ceara Knight 7.56 CW
1st Kyra Bennie 14.5 CW
2nd Nate Colby 12.67 ETK
3rd Ethan Currin 11.90 BC
4th River Gericke 10.33 EDEN
1st Gabbi Herbst 16.16 ETK
2nd Scarlette van Jaarsveldt 12.87 CTS
3rd Zia Hendricks 11.36 DEV
4th Maya Figl 8.34 CW
BOS Highest Heat Score
Eli Beukes (CTS)
VonZipper Airshow - R2 000
Eli Beukes (CTS)
Wazoogles Surfer of the Event - Boys
Nate Colby (ETK)
Wazoogles Surfer of the Event – Girls
Caroline Brown (CTS)
Skull Candy Loud & Proud Trophy (Team Spirit)
Ugu District Team
Images Ian Thurtell/Kody MacGregor
Words by Ryan Anderson. Images by Kody McGregor.
There’s a saying which I’m sure you’ve heard many times, “The best surfer in the water, is the one having the most fun!” This adage certainly describes the vibe at the Cobbles Classic event and has gladly been adopted as the mantra for our gathering.
If a weekend of cruising waves, talking story, beach vibes and music sounds like a good time, then this is the event for you! There aren’t many surfing events that leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling and a wide smile. The comradery, community and love of the glide keeps both old and new, coming back to the Cobbles Classic year after year!
As an addition to the surfing and beach vibe of the Cobbles Classic, this year saw the introduction of the Cape Recife Music Festival on the Saturday night. Some great local bands in The Brothers & Too Many Chiefs, as well as national artists such as Charlie Finch, Farryl Purkiss, Desmond & The Tutus and Matthew Mole entertained into the night.
Hidden within the Cape Recife reserve is a surfer’s playground. The most alluring for the logger, is a beautiful cobble stone point with waves that were made for dancing a single fin down the line. Cobbles offers a wide playing field, with a dominant cobble stone point break as well as a couple reef breaks offering some shapely rights and lefts.
All these options allow us to surf two venues in tandem. This means that the action is always on and surfers get to surf the entire range of waves on offer at Cobbles over the weekend. With various divisions to surf in the event, there is a space for everyone to come and enjoy the vibe.
After a weekend of great surfing through the early rounds in some tricky conditions, we checked the surf forecast in anticipation for the final day. Conditions were lining up for an epic end to the event on the public holiday, with a rising swell and offshore winds predicted. Monday dawned over the Cobbles point with ideal conditions! The swell was up and the waves were peeling. This is the what Cobbles is all about and why it’s considered to be the logger’s pilgrimage.
After an incredible display of surfing on the final day, our winners were crowned at a festive prize giving at Ziggy’s.
In a nail biting encounter with exceptional surfing by all the finalists, the Men’s Elite victory went to Michael “Hill Billy” Hill of St Francis Bay, who was crowed “Cobbles King” for 2017, with his second consecutive Cobbles Classic win. Hillbilly’s legendary reaction to the win said all you needed to know about how much it means to win this event!
With some outstanding surfing in the Ladies Elite final, Shannon Hughes of Jeffrey’s Bay, was crowned the 2017 “Cobbles Queen” for the third time.
Allen Harris from East London took out his first win at the Cobbles Classic event in the Men’s Cruiser division title with some smooth logging. Cobbles local lass, Kia Fenton glided her way to victory in the Ladies Cruiser division. Men’s Legends title was won by the evergreen Greg Smith.
The Cobbles Classic specialty awards are as coveted as the division wins. These were our specialty award winners for 2017.
Nixon Men’s Stylemaster – Liam Bulgen
Nixon Ladies Stylemaster – Margreet Wibbelink
Stance Men’s Noserider – Gallad Smith
Stance Ladies Noserider – Mia Baard
Nixon Surfers Surfer – Levi Mayes
A big thanks to our presenting sponsor RVCA South Africa and their team for helping us put on another classic event this year.
We would also like to thank all our other partners: St Francis Brewing Co, Mohair South Africa, Nixon, RYD Accessories, Stance, Wazoogles Superfood, Surf Sense Boardbags, Sticky Bumps, Faithful to Nature, We Care Collective, D’Blanc, Surfers Pledge, The Water Boy, Ziggy’s Rock & Reggae Bar.
The contest results were as follows:
1st Michael Hill
2nd Craig Cuff
3rd Gregg Clarke
4th Gallad Smith
1st Shannon Hughes
2nd Marishka Diebold
3rd Crystal Hulett
4th Margreet Wibbelink
1st Allen Harris
2nd Liam Bulgen
3rd Simon Fish
4th Matthew Hancock
1st Kia Fenton
2nd Tash Mentasti
3rd Margot Saunders
4th Charmaine Adams
1st Greg Smith
2nd George Bunting
3rd Paul O' Connell
4th Volke Diebold