Slater Leads Quarterfinal ChargeOctober 10, 2003 (Hossegor, France) Six-time world champ Kelly Slater (FL,USA) continued his domination of the Quiksilver Pro France today by storminginto the quarterfinals. Round four of the US$250,000 World ChampionshipTournament (WCT) was completed this afternoon, as well as the Evian GirlsExpression Session and the men’s Foster’s Expression Session.
Great 4ft (1.3m) waves were on offer, with glass-like conditions and hollowbarrels running along the shallow sandbank at La Graviere.
Slater, who posted the highest overall scores of the tournament yesterdaywith a perfect 10 in his tally, picked up where he left off by again earningthe best scores today. Against Brazilian Peterson Rosa, the 31-year-oldpicked off three good scores prior to his opponent even standing up, andthen emerged from a ridiculously long tube for a near-perfect 9.8. He thenperformed some amazing turns, though his massive heat advantage was notbettered. Slater will now face fellow Floridian Shea Lopez in tomorrow’sfourth quarterfinal.
“I was in sync early on in the heat and already had my scores beforePeterson even stood up,” recalled Slater. “For him it was a tough positionto be in, that early in a heat. The one wave of mine was pretty lucky, as itopened up all the way across and I got a big score.
“This board is working really good,” he continued. “Before I went out, myfriend and I were talking about how the waves look like Jeffreys Bay(SAfr) – the way it’s peeling across. I just came off a win at Jeffreys, andthis is the board I rode…. Whoever’s going to win the world title thisyear probably needs to place better than third in the remaining events.That’s what I’m expecting of myself, to get that far in each event cause,it’s going to be a tight one at the end.”
Reigning world champ Andy Irons (Kauai, Haw) went straight to work in hismatch against Mick Campbell (Port Macquarie, Aus), posting a 9.0 first ridewith a great aerial maneuver at the end. He then emerged from two goodbarrels on his next ride for an 8.5 and commanding lead. Campbell executedsome trademark backhand vertical re-entries, but ultimately required acombination of waves worth 17.51-points to advance. Irons is now pittedagainst Californian Taylor Knox, after he eliminated Mick Lowe (Windang,Aus) this morning.
“I’m really happy with the way that went,” began Irons. “I started with anine, and did a good air at the end of the wave. It’s always good to get agreat score right off the bat, as it takes the pressure off. Then I backedit up with an 8.5 with two barrels. Stoked to get past the 9th (place)round. Seems I either make the final or get 9th, so hopefully it means I’llmake the final and get another victory. There’s lot of heats to go, but I’mpsyching and can’t wait.”
Trent Munro (Aus) ended local French wildcard Patrick Beven’s giant killingrun. The Australian began strongly with an 8.0, but his opponent thencollected a 9.0 and appeared destined for further glory in the QuiksilverPro France. Munro kept at it however, securing another 7.67 ride for thelead. Beven caught another great set wave with priority, but unfortunatelyfell and there lost his best chance.
“I started off with that eight and thought it was all right, but then he gota nine and I was on the ropes a little bit,” explained Munro. “I was luckyenough to get the lead with a 7.67, but it was never won for me, that’s forsure. He fell on that set, and that’s the way it worked out.”
Danny Wills (Byron Bay) took out fellow Australian Mick Fanning (Gold Coast)in the day’s first match. The 28-year-old found a couple of clean tube ridesfor the win and will now face West Australian Taj Burrow in the firstquarterfinal, after he eliminated Brazilian Guilherme Herdy in round four.
“That felt good,” said Wills. “I knew the tide was getting lower, so I justtried to pick some early ones and find a couple barrels through the insidde.That’s been the goods all week. It turned out all right, and I’m just takingit as it comes.”
The Foster’s Expression Session was an hour-long display of the mostfuturistic surfing happening. Quiksilver Pro France wildcard Troy Brooks(Aus) took out the best maneuver with one of his trademark ‘Superman’Aerials for US$2,000 while Toby Martin (Dee Why, Aus) earned US$1,000 forthe best wave.
“It’s great Foster’s sponsor these Expression Sessions as you get a bitextra out of these contests,” said Brooks. “It gives the surfers a chance togo out there and do something different then they usually do in heats too.As for the ‘Superman’s’, I think Timmy Curran made it up, but I’ve beendoing a few on the Airshow Series back at home, so I’m trying to steal itfrom him a bit (laughs).”
An Evian Girls Expression Session trials heat also took place, whereby 12 ofthe world’s best women free-surfed for an hour before the strong beachcrowd. Plenty of barrel rides and big maneuvers highlighted their currentperformance level.
The final day of the Quiksilver Pro France is scheduled to resume tomorrowmorning at 8:30am (local time), with quarterfinals kicking off the action.The grand final should hit the water around 2:30pm, if conditions allow asmooth progression.
Quiksilver Pro Round Four Heats (1st>Quarterfinals; 2nd=9th receivesUS$5,000)
H1: Daniel Wills (Aus) 14.77 def. Mick Fanning (Aus) 12.5
H2: Taj Burrow (Aus) 16.1 def. Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 15.43
H3: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.34 def. Michael Lowe (Aus) 13.0
H4: Andy Irons (Haw) 17.5 def. Michael Campbell (Aus) 13.17
H5: Trent Munro (Aus) 15.67 def. Patrick Beven (Fra) 13.67
H6: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 15.16 def. Beau Emerton (Aus) 11.16
H7: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.3 def. Peterson Rosa (Brz) 12.33
H8: Shea Lopez (USA) 15.67 def. Kieren Perrow (Aus) 14.67