IF Trestles was a refined F1 race then the Quik Pro down in Hossegor today was a destruction derby the like of which only Europe's beachbreaks can produce.
Making the call this morning the judges had a couple of questions, was it surfable and was there a consistent competitive playing field? As forecast, swell from Hurricane Igor was pumping in, throwing horrendous slabbing peaks, lumps, bumps and the choice between an epic barrel and a hefty closeout was a question of dropping into as many as possible and seeing what happened.
For some, local lore dictates the beaches here cannot handle a long period swell, a hypothesis swiftly disproved by the double overhead barrels churning through the lineup. If there hadn't been a contest on I'm not sure many 'normal' people would have paddled out but these guys aren't average and this is after all their office. Up until midday when low tide and a wind shift turned the barrels into a wedge fest, tubes were both hunted and hunter with the low heat scores a testament to the challenge of escaping the barrel whilst still orientated vertically.
Post heat a couple of pros had that 1000 yard stare often attributed to shell-shock and with no place to hide pay checks were earned today. Owen Wright, Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, Jordy, Dane, all looked strong with world number one Kelly Slater unable to buy a wave in his heat and into the elimination round.