MICK Fanning just claimed his second consecutive Dream Tour event, taking the 2009 Quiksilver Pro France over fellow Finalist Bede Durbidge in small but consistent waves at Les Bourdaines. Event number 7 on the 2009 ASP World Tour ran in less than ideal conditions due to the dismal surf forecast for the remainder of the waiting period. It wasn't an epic contest by any means, but it the sun shone, the crowd loved it and if you are a Tour surfer you have to be able to compete in these conditions. Fanning has done just that over the last two events and now sits just behind Parko at the top of the table.
Fanning continued to build momentum through the final day of competition before erupting in the final with a flurry of excellent rides, a 7.83, an 8.83 and a 7.33 in the opening half of the competition.
I was really fortunate to get those couple of good ones at the start because I really ran out of gas there at the end, Fanning said. It's two back-to-back events where I have had to surf four heats on the final day to get the win and it takes a lot out of you. The conditions were deteriorating and I was fortunate to get those scores on the board early on... It's back on... Everyone though Joel (Parkinson) was going to run away with it and it's unfortunate for him that he fell out early, but I've put in a lot of work to get these last two wins and I'm just psyched on heading into the rest of the season.
15 is not your number
Durbidge was in excellent form throughout the final day of competition, eliminating a rampaging Dane Reynolds, compatriot Ben Dunn, and lethal local Patrick Beven en route to the final. He ended up in the unenviable situation of having 5 minutes left on the clock and only 2 out of his maximum of 15 waves left to surf - needing a combination score he missed his chance and that was it.
I felt good and fit as but I was trying to push my turns too hard on a couple of waves and I was caught in the bump a lot so I guess that's the difference from the other heats today, Durbidge said. The conditions were a bit bumpier and I couldn't get any clean sections out there. It felt good to be in the final though.
Tiago Pires, Dream Tour sophomore, halted what many considered to be the juggernaut of the event when he eliminated reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater in the quarters.
I'm over the moon right now, Pires said. Kelly (Slater) is my favourite surfer and I have so much respect for him. I knew I had to wait for the bigger waves to get the scores to beat him. I've had a really tough year, but have been training very hard for this and I'm so happy to get through.
Local French hero and wildcard, Patrick Beven, gained entry into the event through the Moskova Trials, eliminated current ASP World No. 1, Joel Parkinson, as well as ASP Dream Tour stalwarts Dean Morrison and Bobby Martinez, before falling to Bede Durbidge in the semis. Supported by thousands of spectators throughout the final day of competition, the giant-killer Beven put on a show using smart heat tactics and razor-sharp backhand turns to prove a standout at Les Bourdaines.
Bede (Durbidge) is a great surfer and he pushed me in a couple of average waves, Beven said. I was feeling really tired in that heat, I didn't eat today and focused so hard on each of my heats. I was a bit confused out in the line-up and I didn't catch the good ones. I was a little stressed halfway the heat and I didn't surf as good as in my previous heats.
Dane is just Dane
Who did everyone want to see in the final, Slater or Dane? The fact remains that these guys are the most exciting thing to watch in the water. Slater for what he's done and Dane for what he is going to do. There is no doubt about it, Mr Reynolds is going to be a world champion - so long as he wants it. From last season's disappointments to this season's casual airs, tweaked-up turns and general nonchalance he was the surfer to watch until he went out. I'm not sure anyone can even remember why...
Slater's season over?
So what happened to Kelly Slater? He looked strong and opened up with some fluid-yet-explosive surfing on his backhand to amass a daunting 17.43 out of a possible 20 heat total, but it was Pires who would answer back with a 9.57 followed by a 8.13 to take the quarter final heat in the final minutes. Left with a flat ocean Kelly was visibly frustrated to lose the heat without a chance of reply. Time has quite possibly run out for Kelly this year, so the question on everyone's lips is if he will turn up at Mundaka or not? Is it really worth his time to compete for the second or third slot? We'll know next week.