Date: Sunday, October 5, 2014
Schedule: Quarterfinals 3 and 4, Semifinals, Final
Conditions: 8-to-12-foot faces
Recap: Round 1
Recap: Round 2, Heats 1-9
Recap: Round 2, Heats 10-12 and Round 3, Heats 1-4
Recap: Round 3, Heats 5-12, Round 4, Heats 1-4 Recap: Round 5, Quarterfinals 1 and 2
After a lethargic start typical for competition on this day, with a few tiny numbers posted, John John Florence found his first huge, hollow barrel for a seven-pointer and a solid lead. While Jadson Andre had a total of just 4.57 by the midway point, Florence put a backup score of 5.00 with a quick cover-up and big, roundhouse turns.
Andre was taking drops, but also a lot of waves on the head and the jetskis put him back for more. As the final 10 minutes ticked down, Florence continued his tube workshop, finding another for an 8.00 and cementing his lead. Andre took one final, huge drop, but knew his run was over. While he didn't take the win, Andre will move up into rankings. For Florence, it was his first win this year.
"It's the best feeling in the world," he said.
Like many of the morning's heats, Semifinal 2 was slow to get started, with a few smaller numbers on the scoreboard. Jadson Andre had a modest lead over Jordy Smith, who was more selective with his waves. But Andre's next wave was a bomb: He pulled into a double-to-triple-overhead lefthander, making it out to cheers, and an 8.00 that gave him a solid lead.
Before Smith could catch up, though, Andre pulled into another massive wave. This one was a righthand tube, making a steep drop before pulling in. It was clear his French momentum was still in full effect; after posting another eight-pointer, he handily took the win, ousting Smith from the competition.
The Hawaiian phenom, John John Florence was the score-stacker at the start of the first Semi, tallying more than a combined 10 points before Josh Kerr had a single wave. When the Aussie aerialist did find a wave, it was a clean tube and the best of the morning to that point, earning a 6.83. But just as he was getting his footing in the heat, Florence found a bigger tube, pulling in deeper for an eight-pointer that gave him a solid lead.
Needing a 8.67 or better to take the lead, Kerr pulled into a huge tube, but it closed out on him. Neither he nor Florence found much after that; the final five minutes were more of a waiting game than a surf-off. Kerr never got his much-needed set, and his young opponent won the heat, and was headed to his second Final in a row, after facing Jordy Smith at Trestles.
"I'm so stoked I made the heat, that was a really scary heat for me," Florence said. "I would love to win a contest. That's all I want to do is win an event."
Slater, who stayed in the water well after his heat ended, was still processing what happened when he spoke with the ASP. "I've had one of those years, and I'm just trying to understand it. But good for Jordy, he's going on a tear. I just wanted a good barrel, but it just wasn't to be. I was frustrated, but I did whatever I could.
"It's funny. I'm in second, but I feel like I struggled to find a real consistency throughout any event this year."
It was World Title contender Kelly Slater who caught the first few waves of the heat, putting a few smaller numbers on his scoreline, before a quick board switch-out. In contrast, Jordy Smith waited nearly 10 minutes before finding his first ride. But once he got going, his wave selection and power game were impressive: He found bigger, cleaner waves than his more veteran opponent, putting a seven-pointer on the leaderboard, followed by a 5.17.
Armed with a smaller board and under some pressure after a lead change, Slater found a quick, righthand tube and milked it into the reform for a 6.50. With seven minutes left, Slater needed a 6.01 to take back the win. But as he sat on the north end of the break, looking for more tube time, the minutes ticked down. When the horn sounded, he had yet to find what he needed and, in a loss with big implications for the World Title race, was eliminated from the Quiksilver Pro France.
"I'm pretty pumped," Smith said. "It felt like I was surfing an uncrowded lineup, I didn't see him much. ...I just tried to do what I do, and do my best."
The Quarterfinals resumed in heavy, windswept conditions with a mix of barrels, closeouts, and crossed-up, inside sections. The jetskis were out to assist, and it was game on when the two Brazilian goofyfooters, Jadson Andre and Miguel Pupo, paddled out to kick things off. Andre was out of the gate first with a warm-up wave that showed the roiling lineup's bumpy faces. Miguel Pupo was next, with a 4-pointer. Andre soon found a lefthander for a strong, frontside ride for a 5.00.
The pair continued to exchange short lefts and rights, making the most of bumpy faces with as many turns as they could muster. Much like his strategy throughout the contest, Andre was aggressive, scratching to get as many scores on the board as possible. Again, his approach paid off. While Pupo found a few corners to earn a three- and a four-pointer, Andre topped him with another 5.50, to take the win and send him to his second-ever WCT Semifinal.
"It feels great," he said. "I'm really stoked. I haven't made a lot of heats in recent years. I would love to make another."