Mick Fanning (AUS) 32, has just won the Quiksilver Pro France in an action packed final over Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19, in 3-4Ft (1 metre) waves at the back up venue of Le Penon in Seignosse.
Stop No.8 of 10 on the ASP World Championship Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France juggled with a difficult forecast to showcase the World’s Best surfers in quality waves over the two iconic spots of La Graviere and Le Penon.
Mick Fanning (AUS) 32, clinches a historic fourth win at the Quiksilver Pro France making him the most decorated surfer of the event’s 12-year history. This result marks the first event win for Fanning this season and cements him in the pole position on the rankings.
“I’m pretty emotional, I never really got into rhythm until this morning so it feels great,” an ecstatic Fanning stated. “It just feels so good, Gabi is such an incredible kid, even with 20 seconds to go I was still under pressure, it just feels so good.”
Fanning consecutively outsurfed Hawaiian phenomenon John John Florence (HAW) 20 and Joel Parkinson on his way to the final, where he found himself backed up against the wall with Medina in the lead. The two-time World Champion sticked to his game plan and attacked a bumpy righthander with all his power to scalp an excellent 8.83 and steal the show.
“Conditions deteriorated towards the end, but I was a little lucky with that last wave I guess. Gabriel and Filipe have just been going so big, I just thought I’d stick to my game and it sort of paid off towards the end,” Fanning continued. “I watched them flipping around in the air, they have no fear and go so high it’s incredible, I wish I could start again with new ankles and try to do some airs like that.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19, former winner of the Quiksilver Pro France in 2011, had a difficult season so far amongst the Elite ASP Top34 and nets in France his best result of 2013. Leader of the new generation’s charge alongside the likes of Julian Wilson and Nat Young between others, Medina confirms Europe as his winning territory and will be one to watch next week in Portugal.
“I’m really happy I made the final with Mick, it’s been a good week with a great result in the end,” Medina said. “I’m stoked, another final and now I’m off to Portugal and hopefully I can do good there again.”
Off to a great start in the final, Medina chose his waves wisely and lofted several airs to score an excellent heat total of 15.00 in the first few minutes. He unfortunately couldn’t stave off an inspired recovery from Fanning who turned the situation around with a combination of three powerful turns on a long running righthander.
“I always like to come here to France, the waves just suit my surfing. It already used to be a good place for me, but it just keeps getting better and better.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18, talented natural footer from Ubatuba in his rookie season amongst the Top34, surfed the heat of his life in the quarter-finals to defeat 11-time World Champion and defending event champion Kelly Slater (USA) 41. Toledo got the better waves of the exchange and managed to surf free of any pressure to rack up an impressive heat total of 16.10 out of 20.
“It’s the best feeling for sure I’m stoked, he’s running for the tile I’m not, I’m just looking for my best result of the year so I was super relaxed and just chasing scores. I’ve just beat the best surfer ever, I can’t describe how I feel !”
Toledo was however no match to an impressive Medina in their semi-final, who took an early control of the heat and of the airspace above Le Penon, launching into huge rotations to net a near perfect 9.10 and take the win. Toledo places equal third and posts his best result to date on the WCT.
“I’m still super stoked, it’s my best result so far and in my first year on the CT,” Toledo said. “I’m stoked for Gabriel too, he started strong with a 9 and a 7, those lefts with the wind are everything he loves to go big. It’s a huge confidence boost before Portugal, and important points for the Rookie of the year race, I’d like to finish the year in the Top10. I love Europe, there’s really good beachbreaks and it’s a lot like Brazil.”
This 3rd place result propels Toledo to the No.16 spot on the 2013 WCT rankings.
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 32, surfed a solid quarter-final heat and displayed his signature power moves to edge out an in form Kai Otton (AUS) 33. Despite Otton getting the better of an early exchange, Parkinson regrouped to find an excellent peaky righthander and perform a combination of two big turns to scalp the 7.90 he required to advance into the semis.
“When we first got here it looked pretty bad, but that was fun I paddled out and it turned on, they timed it perfect,” Parkinson said following his quarter-final. “I couldn’t have another bad result, all my safety nets were gone so I needed it to be a final or a semi. Mick and Kelly have a pretty big lead over me so I felt I could surf without pressure.”
Parkinson couldn’t however repeat the same scenario when facing fellow Gold-Coaster Fanning in the semi-finals and fell short of finding the high score he needed to hinder Fanning’s road to victory. Parkinson places equal third and stays in striking distance of the World Title.
“It was just a let down I guess, I missed one wave, one opportunity.” Parkinson admitted. “I could have been a little more patient but I guess it gives Mick another boost now and puts pressure on everyone else in the race, I’ll have to do the math now.”
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE FINAL RESULTS:
1- Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.66
2- Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.00
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE SEMI-FINAL RESULTS:
SF1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.10 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.03
SF2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.87 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.93
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:
QF1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.77 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.60
QF2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.77
QF3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.37 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.40
QF4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.70 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.00