Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014
Schedule: Round 2 (Heats 1-9)
Conditions: 4-to-6-foot faces at Hossegor
Round 1 Recap
Freddy Patacchia struck early, taking off on back-to-back lefts and completed multiple turns for fair opening scores. Alejo Muniz was patient on his opening ride, finding two reforms to carve all the way to the beach for a midrange six-pointer.
Patacchia showed progression on one of the cleaner lefthanders to notch his first solid score, combining a layback and vertical snaps for a 7.83. Muniz flipped the heat with two long rides for a 7.00 and a midrange six. He held a narrow lead heading into the final minutes. A last-ditch effort by the Hawaiian paid off, though, and Patacchia took the win, surviving Round 2 elimination.
Result: Patacchia, 14.03, def. Muniz, 13.60
Both competitors elected to go left early after seeing in the previous heat that the right-handers were starting to offer less scoring opportunity. C.J. Hobgood claimed the early lead but he and Dion Atkinson both struggled with crumbling conditions and open faces that were few and far between.
It was the Australian who was first able conform to the trickier conditions, banging out three quick hacks on one wave that flipped the heat at the 10-minute mark. The rookie scored the heat-high ride -- a 7.93 -- and earned advancement into Round 3.
"I had my eye on it for a long time and I knew my heat was going to change so much," Atkinson said of the tricky conditions. "I'm stoked I found my footing and got a few good scores."
Result: Atkinson, 13.93, def. Hobgood, 10.77
Jadson Andre wasted no time getting his feet into the wax, racing a left for multiple vertical snaps, though the score would not be a keeper. Bede Durbidge found a workable right, pushing stronger hacks for a midrange six. Then Durbidge went for broke, elevating above the lip, but faltered and failed to notch a second score. Meanwhile, Andre refined his forehand approach and secured a 7.33, as well as the lead going into the second half of the heat.
Andre then upped the ante. With under 10 minutes to go, he switched to his backhand and went to the air, elevating for a full rotation into the flats. Three huge turns on another wave scored Andre an excellent eight-pointer to stave off Durbidge, who had found a solid second score and was starting to charge back. Andre advanced to Round 3, leaving Durbidge with a 25th place finish.
Result: Andre, 16.13, def. Durbidge, 15.90
Owen Wright put Aritz Aranburu on high alert almost immediately, when he earned a seven on his opener for three powerful hacks. The Spaniard responded with a huge tail-slide to get on the board, but still lagged behind the lanky Australian after the first exchange.
Wright notched a backup seven-pointer and Aranburu found himself in a hole, combo-ed with 10 minutes remaining. Aranburu was unable to improve his situation and suffered an early elimination, despite his local knowledge.
Result: Wright, 15.07, def. Aranburu, 9.20
In particular need of good result, Tour veteran Travis Logie was selective to start the heat, clearly looking just for waves that would offer high scoring potential. The 2013 Rookie of the Year Nat Young took the opposite approach.
Young kept busy, tallying four rides in the opening 10 minutes and posting two keepers. Logie's selectivity paid off, though, when he put together three huge hacks on one wave for an excellent score. Young tried to go to his air game but struggled to find clean landings. Meanwhile, the South African steadily progressed through the heat, improving his two-wave total with each ride.
Despite having tallied twice as many waves as his opponent at the 10-minute mark, Young still needed a near-perfect nine-pointer to overtake Logie. As the clock ticked down, the veteran gave up priority on a throwaway score. Young wasted the opportunity with another blown air-reverse. With just four waves ridden, Logie survived the first elimination round.
"Maybe it's too little too late, but I'm going to keep giving my best until the end," Logie said.
Result: Logie, 15.74, def. Young, 12.00
Looking for a much-needed heat win after struggling much of the year, Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson struck first, combining multiple crisp carves for a midrange five and the early lead. Aerial specialist Kolohe Andino's second wave featured a massive layback and his third finished with a controlled air-reverse, giving him the lead going into the backend of the heat.
Andino rode out another clean air with just over 10 minutes remaining, leaving Simpson in need of a 9.00 to regain the lead he held early on. Simpson improved his bottom line slightly after nabbing a respectable righthander, but he was still trying to locate an excellent score as time expired.
"I was just trying to surf the wave as it came," Andino said. "I wasn't trying to force anything. Sometimes I feel like I'm just in turn mode or just in air mode and sometimes you get stuck in one mode. I just want to put on a show."
Result: Andino, 14.10, def. Simpson, 9.97
Riding the momentum from his runner-up finish at Trestles, John John Florence opened with his typical progressive maneuvers and notched a midrange seven on his first wave. Raoni Monteiro responded with a six-point ride for an aggressive, if more conventional, lip attack.
Florence's aerial game was on, though. He landed his next air-reverse for an 8.33 and forced Monteiro to hunt down a near-perfect score with under 10 minutes remaining. The Brazilian managed to land his own air-reverse at the 5-minute mark to better his chances. Both surfers missed on their final opportunities and Florence stayed in the top spot to advance into Round 3.
"If you aim [the board] at the beach it sticks to your feet, hopefully," Florence said. "I heard Kelly had a big air this morning so I thought about that and just went for it."
Result: Florence, 15.83, def. Monteiro, 13.97
Qualification Series leader Matt Banting drew first blood against the reigning World Champion, showing off his refined surfing with progressive vertical snaps and a clean float section. But Mick Fanning's surfing was incomparable. The Tour veteran put up a quick two-wave score of 13.77 and had Banting in a combination situation early on.
Perhaps feeling the pressure, Banting struggled to find his feet in the backend of the heat. Meanwhile, an in-control Fanning let loose, pulling off a huge layback. It would be the first nine-point ride of Round 2. Then, showing why he's the winningest surfer in Quick Pro France history, Fanning landed an air-reverse that improved his second score to a midrange seven. The wildcard was left needing two new scores as the clock ticked to zero.
Result: Fanning, 16.70, def. Banting, 9.43
Both combatants in Heat 1 went big on their openers. Kelly Slater went for an air unsuccessfully. Wildcard Dane Reynolds, looking for his first-ever win against Slater, pulled off a full rotation for the early lead. Slater's rebound was an aggressive series of frontside snaps and cutbacks that netted an 8.00 and a lead change. A rail gouge and a tail-slide upped his early throwaway to a midrange score.
With two solid scores banked, Slater went big. He pulled off a full-rotation air without a grab for a second excellent score, putting the wildcard on his heels. Reynolds was still looking for his third ride and chasing a near-perfect nine-pointer as the clock clicked past the 5-minute mark. He found a midrange five, which didn't change his situation and Slater on to the next round.
"I knew he hadn't got a win on me, but to me that means nothing," said Slater, who is now 11-0 against Reynolds. "Everyone knows what Dane's capable of. Maybe he didn't do it in 30 minutes but he can do whatever he wants on a wave. He does a lot of stuff most people can't do."
Result: Slater, 16.27, def. Reynolds, 11.84