Quiksilver Pro France

Davey Cathels Overcomes Odds

Rookie Davey Cathels needs every win he can get at the moment. He's been paying some dues in his rookie season, with five last-place finishes, along with his a respectable 5th in Brazil and 9th at Bells. Sitting at No. 27 on the Jeep Leaderboard, he's five spots below the requalification cutoff. His QS ranking isn't much help either; At No. 28, he's 18 spots away from the cutoff.

Davey Cathels at the Quiksilver Pro France. Davey Cathels' backhand attack was put to good use in Round One. The rookie earned a much-needed win. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

Drawing Filipe Toledo and Josh Kerr in Round One of the Quik Pro seemed like more punishment. The thumping beach break was providing plenty of ramps for the aerial wizards. Sure enough, Toledo and Kerr wafted and spun early and often. It was fun to watch…except, they weren't landing a thing.

Meanwhile, the Australian rookie dug in his heels in waves that reminded him of those at his home break of Narrabeen. He was grinding away on his turns instead of taking to the air. He went inverted numerous times, much to the delight of a crew of Aussie grommets in the athlete area. "Davey's really clicking it," one of them shouted. Cathels nailed a few mid-range scores and then built from there, 4.4 to 5.1, to 6.17, to 7.17 and finishing with a 6.43. It was the old "building a house strategy," and it got the job done.

Davey Cathels won Heat 11 of Round One at the Quik Pro France. There's nothing better than beating the odds. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"Everywhere I paddled, a little left popped up. I just felt like I was at home."

Catch Cathels and the rest of the Top 34 live daily on the WSL website and app from 8 a.m. CEST, and a replay starting at 11 a.m. PDT.