Kelly Slater: sprayer

Amazing three-to-four foot (1 – 1.5 metre) lefts and rights were pumped from the heart of La Graviere to the Quiksilver Pro France 2011. The first day of surfing competition is over, but Mick Fanning won't forget his sensational 9.37 out of a possible 10 wave for an incredible forehand barrel that gave him the victory in the dying moments of his Round 1 heat.

“It was a wild end to that heat,” Fanning said. “Brett (Simpson) surfed great. He started with an 8 and got a 7 to take the lead and he was really looking in form. He pushed me deep really deep at the end, but I saw the wave had double up and had to put the rocket boots on when I stood up. It had a great line and I was stoked to make it out.”

Fanning’s combined wave total of an 18.20 out of a possible 20 marked the highest of the day, clearly announcing the defending champ’s intentions for the European leg of the ASP World Title Series.

“You have to be able to adapt in France,” Fanning said. “The wave changes so much and shows you so many different faces. I have a great board now that Simon (Anderson) shaped for me and it felt really good out there. Looks like there will be waves throughout the waiting period and I’m looking forward to the next heat.”

Jordy Smith returned to elite ASP World Title competition today, after missing two events due to a rib injury sustained during the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Although still suffering from soreness, the powerful South African muscled his way to a Round 1 victory.

“It’s so good to be back,” Smith said. “I’m not 100% at the moment – about 75%. It still hurts to lie down on my board and paddle, but it’s time for me to be back in the water. I want to be here and I’m happy to have come away with a win in my first heat back.”

Smith was ranked No. 2 in the world prior to injury, and although the injury may have sidelined a 2011 ASP World Title run, South Africa’s favourite son is thankful to be back in the game.

“I’d love to give a big thanks to everyone around the world who was supporting me through that tough time,” Smith said. It’s been the toughest thing in my life to go from being second in the world to having to watch those two events happen. I’m psyched to be back though and am working on staying positive.”

Michel Bourez posted a convincing Round 1 win today, threading glassy barrels and blasting serious turns to advance past South Americans Alejo Muniz and Miguel Pupo.

“The waves were very fun in my heat today,” Bourez said. “France is like that. The waves can be bad one minute and good the next. I got in a good rhythm and I have a really good board. It feels great to get Round 1 win as I’ve had a couple of slow events. I’m hoping for a big result in France.”

Today’s shifting conditions provided plenty of action for the world’s best surfers today, but were, at times, challenging with the ever-shifting lineup. Kelly Slater survived a difficult heat this morning in a wave-starved Round 1 affair.

“It was a nightmare out there,” Slater said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they called it out there. The tide is really high. It was a bummer and not very competitive. That’s the way France is sometimes though. Sometimes it’s on, sometimes it’s off.”

Also surviving a challenging Round 1 heat was current No. 2 on the ASP World Title rankings, Owen Wright. Both Slater and Wright will re-launch their Quiksilver Pro France campaigns in Round 3 of competition.

Joel Parkinson suffered a shock elimination this afternoon at the hands of wildcard and trials winner Ramzi Boukhiam in a wave-starved Round 2 heat.

Dane Reynolds punctuated the afternoon’s action with a come-from-behind victory over Adriano de Souza. In need of a solid score at the business end of the bout, Reynolds tore the roof off a ledging lefthander with two powerful backhand turns, attaining a high 8-point ride and the heat win.

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 11.06, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.77, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.57
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.17, John John Florence (HAW) 9.13, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.00
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.20, Brett Simpson (USA) 15.33, Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.33
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60, Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.26, Chris Davidson (AUS) 2.50
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.10, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 9.83, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 2.93
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.00, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.00, Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR) 2.00
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.53, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.83, Kai Otton (AUS) 6.83
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.80, Dusty Payne (HAW) 3.16
Heat 9: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.03, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.26, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.60
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.26, Daniel Ross (AUS) 9.39, Heitor Alves (BRA) N/S
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.00, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.53, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.83
Heat 12: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.90, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 5.93, Josh Kerr (AUS) 4.33

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR) 9.20 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.84
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.67 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 7.50
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.06 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.60