October 1, 2003 (Hossegor, France) The Quiksilver Pro France got underwaythis afternoon, following opening round heats of the Roxy Pro France.Australians dominated the six heats run in the men’s US$250,000 WorldChampionship Tournament (WCT), winning all but one of those surfed.
Good 3ft (1m) waves were on offer at Les Bourdaines, improving as the highertide filled in with clean right and lefthanders.
Australian Toby Martin (Dee Why) won the opening heat of the men’s division,earning an 8.33 on his first right-hander. He then waited patiently whileopponents Peterson Rosa (Brz) and Michael Lowe (Windang, Aus) caught lots ofsmaller waves, before finding another couple of rights to command the leadwith some great surfing. Despite a series of poor results on the WCT thisyear, Martin was fired up for he match and is determined to change his luckin Europe.
“Everyone’s surfing so amazing this year on tour, and watching them blow upmakes you go out there with nothing to lose,” said Martin. “I found a goodright-hand bank out there and opened with an eight, which is what you needto make heats. I really want to do well in France, so I’m going to give iteverything I’ve got.”
Luke Stedman (Avalon, Aus), who is currently tied with Martin in 42ndposition on the ratings, then posted a great win over Cory Lopez (Fl, USA)and Trent Munro (Scott’s Head, Aus). The WCT ‘rookie’ has been gainingconfidence each event this season, and showed it as he collected the highestcombined tally of 17.26-points.
“I watched the conditions for a long time and knew where the spot was andmade sure I stayed there,” explained Stedman. “It’s all about who gets thewaves, as everyone’s got equal ability at this level. When you get a waveyou’ve just got to nail it.”
Mick Campbell (Port Macquarie) earned the best single score of 8.93 todefeat fellow Australians Dean Morrison (Gold Coast) and Tom Whitaker(Bronte). The goofy footer turned on the goods toward the end of theirmatch, also collecting an 8.17 for a convincing victory.
“There weren’t many waves at the start, but we all got some good ones towardthe end,” said Campbell. “I was hassling a bit though, as I was wearingboard shorts and was freezing. I had to keep moving around and it worked tomy advantage.”
Wildcard Troy Brooks (Gold Coast, Aus) served notice he’s out to createupsets in the Quiksilver Pro France by defeating Victor Ribas (Rio, Brz) andKieren Perrow (Byron Bay, Aus). While no one is eliminated in round one,Brooks advanced directly into the third, while his opponents now have tocontest the ‘losers’ elimination round.
“I love making something of the wildcard opportunities I get,” said Brooks,who’s no stranger to Quiksilver Pro events. “I was frothing out there tryingto catch every wave, and was lucky the other guys made a few errors earlyon. Thankfully I didn’t fall on my waves.”
Brazilian Paulo Moura secured the only non-Australian win, overcoming strongperformances by world #5 Mick Fanning (Gold Coast, Aus) and local Frenchwildcard Miky Picon. All three posted big scores as conditions turned on,but it was Moura’s backhand attack that ultimately earned the equal bestscore of the day for an 8.93 and round three berth.
“I focused so much for that heat,” acknowledged Moura. “I stayed relaxed andpicked the good waves, and tried to surf my best. I’m happy to be here inFrance again, and I’ve been training all year, hoping to improve. HopefullyI can get a good result in this contest.”
Quiksilver Pro France Round One Heats (1st>Rnd 3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd 2)
H1: Toby Martin (Aus) 15.66; Peterson Rosa (Brz) 12.77; Michael Lowe (Aus)10.1
H2: Luke Stedman (Aus) 17.26; Cory Lopez (USA) 9.4; Trent Munro (Aus) 7.76
H3: Michael Campbell (Aus) 17.1; Dean Morrison (Aus) 15.86; Tom Whitaker(Aus) 10.33
H4: Nathan Hedge (Aus) 13.1; Tim Curran (USA) 12.7; Luke Egan (Aus) 11.5
H5: Troy Brooks (Aus) 15.33; Victor Ribas (Brz) 11.0; Kieren Perrrow (Aus)8.23
H6: Paulo Moura (Brz) 16.76; Mick Fanning (Aus) 14.5; Miky Picon (Fra) 14.34
Remaining Quiksilver Pro France Round One Heats (1st>Rnd 3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd 2)
H7: Taj Burrow (Aus); Pat O’Connell (Aus); Jonathan Gonzalez (Spn)
H8: Andy Irons (Haw); Jake Paterson (Aus); Frederick Robin (Fra)
H9: Joel Parkinson (Aus); Kalani Robb (Haw); Patrick Beven (Fra)
H10: Kelly Slater (USA); Neco Padaratz (Brz); Tiago Pires (Port)
H11: Taylor Knox (USA); Guilherme Herdy (Brz); Fabio Gouveia (Brz)
H12: Damien Hobgood (USA); Shane Powell (Aus); Beau Emerton (Aus)
H13: Mark Occhilupo (Aus); Armando Daltro (Brz); Danilo Costa (Brz)
H14: Shea Lopez (USA); Phil MacDonald (Aus); Darren O’Rafferty (Aus)
H15: Daniel Wills (Aus); Lee Winkler (Aus); Flavio Padaratz (Brz)
H16: Richard Lovett (Aus); Luke Hitchings (Aus); Chris Davidson (Aus)