Carissa Moore Wins The Roxy Pro France
Hossegor – Jeremy Flores is the very popular new Quiksilver Pro Champion. His first wave of the final was one of his best waves all week. He chose the right line, drove through the sections, and claimed the wave emphatically before emerging from a ridiculous barrel, flexing his muscles as he bailed out on bare sand. It was classic Jeremy Flores and a very powerful start. He was awarded a 9.67, and it probably should have been a 10-point ride, but the judges did need to leave themselves somewhere to move.
He backed it up with a 5.33, and although Italo Ferreira was chasing hard, the win was in the palm of Jeremy’s hand from the first minute. It was his destiny.
A long and technical backhand barrel with doggy-door exit banked the Brazilian a 5.50 and a massive forehand air would have been an excellent score, but the landing was just too savage on the roof, and he fluffed it.
When you have two surfers of this caliber, and waves with 10-point potential, there is nothing taken for granted unless there is a combination situation. It felt, as the minutes ticked away, that it was still anyone’s game.
A last-minute, giant Hail Mary air attempt to the flats by Italo didn't get the divine intervention it needed, and the event belonged to Jeremy.
On the beach, the enormity of winning an event in front of a home crowd sunk in for Jeremy and his words to Rosy resonated with disbelief, “Oh My God are you kidding? I just won. In France!”
It was an amazing moment, winning on French shores in a Quiksilver event (his long-time sponsor). Flores probably locked in another five years of Quik Cash sponsorship with the win, but he put self-interest aside to claim the victory in the name of France.
“This trophy stays in France,” he said. The crowds were so excited. There was singing and cheering, and such a buzz. Pro surfing and The World Surf League enjoyed a fabulous moment, and all was good with the world.
The Women’s final was a one-sided affair for Carissa Moore, as she totally dominated against Caroline Marks. An excellent forehand tube ride, followed by a brilliant backhand tube ride in the throaty shorebreak conditions, had Marks chasing from the early moments. Despite trying valiantly, Marks could not find the rewarding barrels and never really found waves with high scoring potential. Moore will retain the Jeep yellow-jersey going into Portugal.
The final day started off with the first of many surprises, as the energetic Jeremy Flores trounced Jordy Smith. In big outside right-handers and with solid barrels on tap, Jordy couldn't buy a good wave and was given a lesson in how to surf shifty peaks by the local surfer. Their waves were very much identical – big set-wave, right-hand tubes – but the first three of Jordy’s waves pinched on him while in the barrel, while the first two waves of Jeremy’s stayed open till the end, allowing him to exit cleanly, finish his waves off and get the big scores. There were plenty of comments being bandied about, by commentators and by the people I was watching with, suggesting it was a world title heat, but it wasn't really. Jordy has been in this zone so many times that it’s just like another day in the office for him, except it was a day that didn't end up with a win.
Just as I started writing about shock eliminations, one of the weirdest heats was unfolding. In the same big, gaping right-hand barrels. Gabe Medina was floundering at the hands of Ace Buchan. It was a clutch heat, and oh yes it really was a world title heat, but Medina could not do enough to match Buchan’s superior performance. Backhand barrels, and tight and polished backhand cracks as is Ace’s signature saw the elder statesman advance at the expense of the Jeep Leaderboard’s number 1-ranked surfer. There was a dose of Brazilian disappointment on the beach and there was plenty of Brazilian frustration in the water, but the surprises didn't end there.
Wade Carmichael needed a 4.75 on the ropes against wildcard Marc Lacomare. He picked up a bomb with under a minute to go, parked it in a massive barrel to exit, execute a huge carving wrap, and finish off with a third nice close-out swing at the lip. Speed, power and flow. It was a great ride. The barrel wasn't as deep as some of the others but it was a real tube on a big wave, and he was awarded a 4.5 and was eliminated from the event.
“You FUCKING kidding me. What a joke,” he was heard exclaiming on the beach, and it could be watched on the heat analyzer over and over again. You can probably still find it around here somewhere - https://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2019/mct/2923/quiksilver-pro-france/heatanalyzer.
It really wasn't the right score for the wave ridden. It wasn't right.
In semifinal one, Flores continued to show his supremacy by schooling Jack Freestone. Flores banked a heat score of 16.33 including a 9-point ride for a technical and difficult backhand barrel, emerging hands-free in the shorey on a big set wave. After a few notable flourishes throughout the event, Freestone posted an unglamorous 2.83 and a dismal 1.90 as his two scoring waves. Jack has the ability to regularly be in finals, but seems to lack self-belief and focus at critical moments.
In the second semi, it was all about Italo Ferreira, as Leo Fioravanti couldn't pick up a final good ride, despite getting a priority call go his way in the last minute or so. A single scoring wave would have seen Fioravanti eclipse the Brazilian’s score at the end of the heat, but it was not to be. Still, it was a great result for Leo.
All in, a very satisfying event, and some slight changes on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Most importantly, Flores moves up five places and goes into the top ten.