The surf in France at the Quiksilver Pro reached epic proportions.

The boys were really excited to be still in the event for Friday at the
main contest venue Culs nu or the Nude beach, 1 kilometre north of La
Nord or La Centrale Hossegor home of the night clubs Rock Food and Dicks
right on the beach.

The waves were pumping with top to bottom pits stretching the length of
the Culs nu bank which is pretty extensive.The contestants were allowed
to surf the extremities of the bank which sometimes meant each surfer
could be up to 300 metres/yards apart.

This made it interesting for the spectators who would sometimes follow
their favourite surfer up the beach (in Kelly's case this was a few
thousand people) 200 metres, only to see them paddle down the bank 300
metres and surf the heat there.

It was interesting for the surfers as well trying to work out prior to
their heat which section to surf.There were times during the day when a
section would start to fire and look like a permanent bank with wave
after wave peeling off in the same spot, only to inexplicably disappear
totally and not break for 2 hours then return.

The team managers or family members and advisers had their work cut out
trying to nail down a solid strategy prior to their man paddling out.
Generally there was 3 sections, Frontski straight out in front of the
contest scaffolding offering freefall late take offs into big right
barrels, up the beach north 200 metres where the Goofy's primarily
preferred to go which again generally was a big right but sometimes a
left on the other side of the peak.

The right up the beach generally was not so current and tide affected,
making the take offs a little more straightforward than out the front
and maybe more of an open exit from the barrel, allowing the goofy's a
better percentage chance of squeaking out without getting clipped or
guillotined and of course the option of picking up the odd left.

These lefts at times were pretty heavy, the Spartan Micheal Bourez got
obliterated trying to take an unrideable left late in his quarter final.
Somehow he got to his feet momentarily before free falling into the abyss.
Owen Wright also had problems on this section breaking 3 boards in
succession on his first 3 waves, eventually running out of his own boards
and being delivered a Tom Whitaker Dahlberg backup board late in the
heat by a scrambling Mick Fanning, only to run out of time needing a midrange
score against Dan Ross who also broke a board during the round 5 heat.
Dan was surfing the 3rd possible section which was about 80-100 metres
to the south of the out front bank.This bank was possibly offering the
longest maybe quickest barrels, it is were Kelly would nail down a 10 in
the semi on Saturday.

It was an epic day of surfing with the Saturday promising to be bigger
for the finals and with the prospect of the surf increasing but the wind
likely to strengthen onshore around midday, the contest director Mikey
Picon and Quiksilver were going ahead early.

It was almost impossible to paddle out from the beach on Friday, on
Saturday it was impossible. Jetski assist was the order of the day.
The waves were epic 8-10 feet pipes spitting sand and air.Many
reputations were enhanced and some made, Kelly and Mick worthy
finalists, Mick deserved winner.

Jordy had a tough quarter against Mick and couldn't find a good one,Dan
Ross had a good one in his quarter 8.50 but couldn't find a backup
wave, Kieren Perrow charged in the expression session but not his quarter,
Ace Buchan had a 9.43 in the quarters but failed to get a second
good score against Mick in the semi. Brett Simpson charged into the semi
finals but couldn't find an open one against Kelly who scored a 10 on the
southern contest section, maybe the wave of the contest.

Kelly nearly drowned after the final and generally there was carnage and
high theatre.Mick and Kelly took 10 minutes to get out with jetski assist
before the start of the final.Mick got off to a good start with a 7 but got
caught inside and manfully attempted to paddle back out but broke his leg rope.
He body surfed a wave in but went over the falls head first then swam in taking
up a few minutes.Kelly couldn't capitalise, catching a pretty good wave but getting clipped after the free-fall takeoff then getting caught inside and washed to near the beach.He then had a couple of attempts to connect with his jetski but somehow
failed to get onboard for awhile, with the jetski even tipping over right near Kelly, almost taking him out.

In the meantime Mick had the backup board with fresh leg rope attached
and was on his way back out.Unfortunately they didn't trade barrel for barrel
in the final, but it was a great day for European surfing and a title I'm sure Mick is very proud to have.Also the first time he has been defending champion and retained the title.

So I guess we have a new contender for the world title race with Mick
right in it, Kelly out in front looking ominous and Jordy by no means gone.

Still some epic surf to be had in Portugal, this year's tour has picked
up the pace a lot,
signing off, Simon


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