The Quiksilver Pro France fired up yesterday on the third day of the waiting period, and it was well worth the wait.
After moving up the bank in a search for better conditions, conditions turned on and competitors found themselves looking at overhead barrels.
As it stands right now, there are three real contenders to knock Mick Fanning from the top spot: Adriano de Souza, Filipe Toledo, and Owen Wright. Only one of them, however, made it through the first round with a win. De Souza’s heat against Keanu Asing and Caio Ibelli–an injury replacement–showed exactly why the Brazilian powerhouse is knocking at the first place door.
Owen Wright took a hard loss against Dane Reynolds, who won a wildcard into the event. Reynolds, who seems to have flipped on a competitive switch, put Wright in a combo situation just a few minutes into the heat, and kept him in it until the final horn.
Toledo was kicked into the second round by Hermes, an injury replacement for Freddy Patacchia. Toledo struggled through a bland, high-tide heat, while Hermes methodically knocked out turns, keeping Toledo on his back foot and eventually taking the win.
In another interesting result, Brett Simpson and Kelly Slater ended up tying each other after a heat full of clashes. Simpson opened up in dramatic fashion, finding his way into two solid tubes in a row. Slater, however kept himself in the running, trailing Simpson closely for much of the heat. When the horn sounded Simpson and Slater were sitting on the exact same heat total. Simpson moved on to round 3 because he held the highest one-wave score.
John John Florence, in classic JJF form, netted a near perfect 9.93 when he stalled into a throaty little french tube.
In the same heat, Alejo Muniz found himself on the sharp end of the stick when he pulled into a closeout. After he popped back up, he needed assistance back to the beach, as he had injured his knee.