After being in Madrid for three days (check the blog here) our time schedule suggested it was time to move on. We headed for water, more so the french west coast and Hossegor, to catch the French leg of the surfing championship tour, the Quicksilver pro. Interested in everything surfing, it soon became a dream of mine to actually see these surfing freaks of nature in real life. We weren’t far from Hossegor where its held every year, with Leah also keen as a bean, it would be rude not to show our support.
The Competition – This year the quicksilver pro was scheduled for the 4th – 15th of October. Somehow the start of the competition kicked off with a flying start, the swell was on and they smashed through the first half of the competition. For us, this meant we had to get our ass into gear and make sure we didn’t miss the finals. After missing the heats, we arrived at night, parked at the competition spot in Le Graviere and sat tight for the morning call.
Up early, coffee in hand and outside temp about 7 degrees, we grabbed our camping chairs and set off for the beach. Upon arriving at the competition area, some French bloke on the speaker phone announced the competition was on hold until 2pm. Alrighty then, let’s go get warm and come back at 2pm. A quick supermarket shop and we had a packed lunch sorted. Taking our lunch meant we didn’t need to move for the rest of the afternoon. On arrival back at the comp, we had to show our bags to security and make our way through the mind field of soldiers staring us down. Maximum security that’s for sure. It was weird to look around, so many cruisey/hippie surfer dudes and dudettes and then a bunch of scary looking army men, it just didn’t fit well.
We set up camp on the beach waiting for the 2pm call. Heaps of surfers in the lineup as we sat and waited. 2pm comes by “and the competition is… OFF” ahhh!! the crowd sighs in disbelief. Oh well, we thought, suns out, not a bad beach day. Soon enough the man himself John John Florence, along with Keanu Asing, and Gabriel Medina fly into the water for some free surfing action. We sat tight as these legends started to show off to the crowd, throwing down some massive airs and aggressive turns in the what could have been perfect conditions for the competition. Unsure why they didn’t run it, we sat and enjoyed the show. At one point Leah tried to egg me on to get in the water with them, nerves running through, I bitched out and sank further into my camping chair.
The Next day up at 8am, we sat around the coffee table at Le Surf Spot hostel, all excited to hear the call for the day’s agenda. Unfortunately, to our disapproval, the swell had dropped over night causing the competition director to call a “layday” or no competition until tomorrow. Not all bad, we packed up Cassie full of our new friends and their boards and headed for the beach for some free surf of our own. Not a bad day for waves, I guess they were waiting for perfect conditions to run the semi finals. We surfed for a few hours right outside the competition which felt somewhat intimidating but hey, maybe someone will spot my modest surfing talent from afar and sponsor me.
Another 8am rise and once again another repeat of the morning before. This was starting to get frustrating, three consecutive days and they weren’t going to run it… Whats going on here. Making new friends in this rad hostel but also creating some friendly banter as the competition came to a close. Debates going down on who’s going to win, Carlos from Brasil backing Medina all the way while I myself was in John Johns corner. Keeping ourselves entertained with drinking beer, surfing, skating and listening to tunes, life wasn’t so bad on another lay day.
Ok, so another 8am rise and I didn’t even need my alarm to wake me and your probably thinking, they must have run it by now. Well they didn’t. These guys sure know how to keep people waiting. The competition was on call three times, too early for a beer, we lounged around until finally at 1pm they made the call to move it 300m down the beach to a better break. Here they would start at 3pm with the girls semi final #1. Woo hoo we all cheered, geared up and crammed in Cassie hopefully for the last time.
Over the sand dunes and down to the water’s edge, we found ourselves a spot for the 8 of us to chill. As the competition started, the girls were up first. The rain we had been expecting decided to show up at the perfect time… for the paddle out. We rugged up warm with jackets and the tapestry, it was one cold day, trust me, my balls almost froze off. As the semi finals for the girls ran through, the rain pelted down, but not all was bad, we had a mint spot with a cool crew and a corona in hand ready for the mens semi.
John John and Asing up first, the waves seemed to drop right off. John john throwing everything he had but little Keanu replying with more. Soon enough to the crowds disbelief, Keanu had won and was into the final. Even though he didn’t come away with the win, it was epic so see my one of my idols in the surfing world compete in the flesh. Before the heat kicked off, I told Leah id run up to John John and go for the iPhone selfie at the end, too bad he lost although I’m sure he didn’t want no fan boy chucking a phone in his face after that loss.
The next semi was a bit more exciting. Gabriel Medina vs Kolohe Andino. The aggressive Brazilian came out firing, surfing right into the shore, throwing down airs like it was a piece of piss. Andino went flying down the line on the only right hander of the day and seemed to have Medina in his sights. Unfortunately he didn’t quite land the areal which could have nailed a huge score and kept his momentum going through the heat. He struggled to keep up with the Brazilian who in true Madina style caught anything surfable to post a solid score. 35 minutes and Madina on top, it would be Asing vs Medina in the final.
The girls final was really just a show for Tyler right. After winning her Semi final, this gave her enough points for the whole competition to crown her overall champion for 2016. She was so ecstatic, at one point she was seen riding switch on one of the waves. Carissa Moore took the final a little more serious and came away with the win.
The mens final. Head to head went the Hawaiian and the Brazilian in cold, wintry like conditions in France. To sum up the final, Asing on fire so hot, even the water couldn’t put him out. Medina really fell out of the final, as he tried to catch anything and everything, he really struggled to post a solid score. At one point Asing had him “comboed” meaning Medina needed two high scoring waves to be in the lead with 7 minutes left. he managed a 7.33 which left Asing with priority. Medina then started paddling down the beach 100m to another peak. This made is easy for Asing, all he had to do was stick to him like glue and that he did.
Keanu Asing, from the start was the underdog and who doesn’t love a good underdog story. “against all odds” he managed to beat the #1 and #2 in the world to be crowned the champ in France to post his first ever CT win on tour. Not a bad achievement for the young Hawaiian. This will help him to qualify for next year so he can return to France to try to defend his title. From here on throughout the town, pro surfers, men and women flooded the streets. At times it felt like we were one of them… or maybe that was a dream, all in all the competition was a success which drives me to one day follow more of the tour all over the world. If you get the chance in any of the 12 spots around the globe to see these heroes in the flesh, do it, its something ill never forget.
Bryn | free & addicted
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