After a run of several down days, the swell picked up in France and the Quiksilver Pro resumed in very tricky conditions at La Gravier. The waves were a solid three-to-five feet. It was mostly closed save a few key scoring opportunities in every heat. Those that capitalized advanced. When the conditions get challenging, the cream always rises to the top, and it was no different in Round 3.
World title frontrunners Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning both had very slow and nerve-racking heats, but proved they are the hardest guys to beat on tour. Taj Burrow also continued his roll. Facing Alejo Muniz, Burrow found the first two barrels of the day, gliding easily into Round 4. Burrow looks relaxed and focused on doing well in the event, and although he's a long shot for the title, the further he goes the more of a threat he becomes.
Joel Parkinson appears to have shaken the funk as he took out Pat Guduaskas. Parkinson is definitely one of the most dangerous guys in these types of conditions. He's a hunter and he seems to always pick out the best waves when it's shifty and barreling.
"There's a couple little tactics you can use to find the right ones, like try to find where the rips go out, try to get on the corners of the smooth parts, sometimes it feels like you're paddling for nothing and it turns into a good wave," said Parkinson.
Jordy Smith finished the round in a heated battle against aging tube-master Kieren Perrow. In a back-and-forth affair, Perrow found one great tube to put Smith on the ropes. But in the end the heavy-footed South African found a sneaky eight-point ride under priority to take the win.
Brazilians Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina put on incredible performances. Toledo once again launched a huge full-rotation alley-oop, which earned score of 9.7 from the judges. It was enough to see him handily beat out local hero Jeremy Flores.
"I'm super stoked to make that heat, especially with that air and that barrel," said Toledo afterwards. "The Brazilian crew is great, we're all stoked and have that positive vibe so it's great to be here in France in warm weather and good waves. I'm feeling confident for the next round."
Medina followed Toledo's lead with a barrel to alley-oop combo of his own, taking out Billabong Pro Tahiti champ Ace Buchan in the process. These two kids are looking deadly in both the barrel and the air. They will be extremely hard to beat in the coming rounds.
Other notables going into the final day include John John Florence and Julian Wilson, who are looking tack sharp. With all five of the world title contenders still in the contest and a slew of hungry talent hoping to post a breakout result, it should prove to be a very exciting final day at the Quiksilver Pro France.
REMAINING QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 4 MATCHUPS:
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), John John Florence (HAW), Mick Fanning (AUS)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA)
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 19.17, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.80, Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.50
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.50 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.17
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 7.40 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 4.10
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.16 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.83
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.73 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.50
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 15.67 def. Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.20
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.34 def. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 10.67
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.50 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 9.37
Heat 8: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.47 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 2.67
Heat 9: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.77 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.16
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.26 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.30
Heat 11: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.87 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.40
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.17 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.40