Number Two seeded surfer for the Quik Pro France, Australian, Joel Parkinson was at the beach in the dark again this morning.
"I've been first heat of the day for three days straight," he said as he watched set after set close out across the sand bar.
"I'd like to turn up in the morning, paddle out and get this thing done," he added, as the news came through that the contest was being put on hold for an hour.
After a cup of strong French coffee, Parkinson was candidly suggesting, to flip a coin to decide the heat with contest wildcard Wiggolly Dantas just to get a result, but no one was taking him seriously.
Conditions for day five of the waiting period had been predicted to be in the six-foot range with light winds and clear skies. The predictions were spot on, but the swell was hitting the sand bank at La Graviere straight on with maybe one out of fifteen waves providing corner. There were dredging sand barrels draining across the main contest bank, but the tube was unmakeable. The contest was continually put on hold from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., when they finally decided to run seven heats of round two. Parkinson completely blew out Brazilian Wiggoly Dantas, 18.27-2.66.
"It felt like that heat had been going for a week, it was good to finally get something going. I was ready to flip a coin this morning but I'm glad we didn't. I knew (the good ones) were out there, but it only turned on for 20 minutes at a time, I'm just glad that I scored one of those pockets."
Twenty-minute pockets of waves seemed to dictate the results for the rest of the afternoon. Yadin Nichol scored a perfect 10-point ride for a deep draining sand barrel only to lose to French hero Jeremy Flores because he only had a two-point back up wave.
Kolohe Andino left the water after winning his heat against Josh Kerr with mixed feelings. He'd won the heat on the strength of an 8.07-point wave but snapped his board in the process.
"That heat shut down on us and basically I got the only scoring wave. I would have liked to get more waves, but I'm stoked with the win," he said with a little laugh, "I've had so many heats where I was in his position -- this year I'm just stoked to have one go my way."
When asked why he still had the broken tail of his board he just shrugged before explaining, "It was my most magic board by far but I've still got the tail pad so that's cool. The wave seemed so huge on my head and I just thought, 'there's no way I'm duck diving this.' I came up and the board was in two pieces. I've broken five or six boards this week in these dredging conditions. I've been texting Matt at Mayhem going, 'I need more boards for Portugal' and he's like, "Are you serious? How many did you break?' I told him five in four days."
Kerr wasn't the only top seed to bow out today. Adriano de Souza, (current no. five in the world) was knocked out by Taylor Knox. Knox needs to keep advancing to keep his chances of re-qualifying for next year's Top 34 alive. De Souza had a 9.77-point ride in his score line but no back-up wave, while Knox found barrels on both the lefts and the right of the wedging A-frame peak.
Julian Wilson, in the last heat of the afternoon, found one of Parkinson's "20 minute pockets." He got nailed in the shore break for valuable minutes as set after set landed on his head, holding him in the impact zone. Eventually he left the water, ran the beach and jumped back out through a rip. Within seconds of making it out the back he dropped into a solid six foot barreling bomb and emerged seconds later with a little fist pump and perfect 10-point score.
Owen Wright made it through his heat against good mate Matt Wilkinson but it was Wright's younger brother Mikey who scored all the accolades today.
Quiksilver run the finals of their worldwide King of the Groms event in conjunction with the French Pro and in today's final, Mikey Wright defeated California's Kanoa Igarashi to be crowned this year's King.
Today's seven heats took nearly 12 hours to run. The full moon tides and direction of the solid six-foot of swell are playing havoc with the running of the contest and it seems we could be in for similar conditions over the next few days.
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.27 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 2.66
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.00 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.40
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.80 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.44
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.10 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 4.90
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.50 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.00
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.76 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.90
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.77 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 4.30
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 12: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)