Parading up the beach at La Graviere with the American flag draped over his right shoulder, Kelly Slater defeated Dane Reynolds in the finals of the 2012 Quiksilver Pro France, putting a 12th World Title closer within his grasp.
Although Slater has won nearly every accolade and competition in professional surfing, his victory at the Quiksilver Pro was actually his first at the event. With the win, Slater moves into second place (behind Joel Parkinson) and adds to his total of 51 Tour victories (and second consecutive win on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour).
“Literally, 20 years later,” said Slater of his first win at the Quiksilver Pro France. “I got my first win here in ’92. It’s pretty crazy. I’ve come close here a couple times, but never been able to put it to bed.”
The conditions in France couldn’t have been much better as the famous beachbreak delivered its Friday’s best: offshore, barreling, and blue.
“This is why you surf,” said Slater. “To catch waves like this.”
Dane Reynolds also performed well throughout the week, and was hoping to claim his first World Tour victory, despite being a wildcard at the event.
“I really like these waves,” Dane said from the podium. “I wasn’t really worried about competing or winning…”
“I was saying to Dane I was so psyched to make a final with him,” said Slater. “I didn’t think I’d be doing this at forty years old, and to be able to win an event at this age – it wasn’t really in my mind. It’s really something special for me today.”
When asked about his thoughts on approaching a 12th World Title, Slater was demure.
“When you start working the numbers a little bit, I got two bad results. The points change around a little bit there. If I couldn’t get past Parko today, that would put a lot of pressure on me. Now I think the pressure’s back on Mick. It was kind of a worst case scenario for Mick.”