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Michel Bourez lost to Parko in a heat of threes and fours. At the buzzer, the Spartan sought a 3.5 to overtake his opponent, but with a west swell refusing to peak up, this seemed near impossible.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
John John slid straight through to the Quarters, aided by a clean eight point tube at first light. "There's no pressure for a title or anything, so I'm just trying to make a couple heats and have fun," Florence said. "I really want to win another event, I haven't won one since Rio so that'd be pretty sick to win another one at some point.. I'm riding a 6'0 this is the board I rode for the whole Bali event and I kind of forgot about it but I saw it when I went home and I'm surfing it here it goes really good."© 2014 ASP/Cestari
A near perfect tube from Gabriel Medina ensured his passage to the Quarters.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
"I hope I can get another win here, it's all I'm looking for," said Medina. "That was a fun heat against Julian and Jordy, I got that one wave that was so good and I almost fell so I'm stoked I made it."© 2014 ASP/Cestari
"It was really tough out there," said Parko after his round 5 win. "Getting a three felt as hard as getting a nine."© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Brett Simpson fell to Julian Wilson in round 5. Simpo is teetering around 32nd place on the rankings and is in dire need of a solid result. 9th in France won't hurt his re-qualification campaign, but he will need something more if he hopes to don a 'CT vest next season.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Slater won his round 4 heat with a combined score of 10.00.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Jordy Smith's World Title hopes slipped away against a voltaic Felipe Toledo.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
There was the odd tube from the young Brazilian, but Felipe's success was primarily derived from his air game.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Julian Wilson is looking sharp as ever, finding running tubes and taking to the air whenever a section permitted. He will face Gabriel Medina in the quarters.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
A forlorn sky coupled with the blustery southerly wind meant there wasn't much bare skin in sight. At least that prevented the cameramen from seeking out those sleazy butt shots.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Don't be deceived, the conditions were very far from perfect.© 2014 ASP/Cestari
Burrow went out to Fanning with a 3.67 as his highest score.© 2014 ASP/Kirstin
Fanning didn't do much better, but his doggy door exit was just a pinch more critical. "When I knew I was going to have Taj, you know he's been in form for the last couple of events and he's been ripping, I knew it was going to be a really big heat, but the waves didn't really come to play," Fanning said. "I just snuck a couple of head dips and he didn't have much, it was really difficult out there."© 2014 ASP/Kirstin
The Kelly imposter. Kitted out in Quiksilver gear, this lookalike has fooled many a fan at the Quik Pro contest site. At one point security ran down to protect him, only to realise that they too had been deceived.
A 9th place finish in France leaves Jordy Smith's title hopes in tatters.© 2014 ASP/Kirstin
Toledo was one of the first to take to the air, an approach which paid dividends in the strengthening cross-shore wind.© 2014 ASP/Kirstin
With the number of good alley-oops in this event to date, judges will soon have to start re-setting the scale.© 2014 ASP/Kirstin
The volatility of French beachbreaks is a well documented fact; a spitting pyramid peak can all to soon become a 200 metre closeout. Unfortunately, day four of the Quik Pro saw a surplus of the latter.
The action began under a somber sky with the remaining heats of round four. John John instigated proceedings with a running tube which raised expectations, but the dredging low tide bank, coupled with a dead west swell, meant very little was on offer beyond a sandy beating.
Slater stumbled to a win with a ten point total, then moments later, Gabriel Medina unearthed a diamond in the rough with a near perfect frontside tube.
“Ah I smashed it out there,” said Kelly, laughing. “Me an Brett were just laughing at the end, it was painful. The waves just aren’t very good that’s all, and there’s not much we can do about it. This real Westerly direction means the waves have no opportunity to peak up.”
The start of round five saw little improvement in conditions, with a strengthening southerly wind, and competitors squeezing through non-existent doggy doors. Burrow was eliminated by Fanning in a painful heat in which neither surfer surmounted the five point mark. The result puts an end to Burrow’s fledgling title hopes.
“When I knew I was going to have Taj, you know he’s been in form for the last couple of events and he’s been ripping,” said Fanning. “I knew it was going to be a really big heat, but the waves didn’t really come to play. I just snuck a couple of head dips and he didn’t have much, it was really difficult out there.”
As the cross-shore wind added yet more chop to the surface, Miky Picon’s hopes of finishing off the contest were rapidly dispelled. However, the increasingly difficult conditions arguably made for a more compelling spectacle. Competitors were left with the tough decision whether to continue hunting barrels, or take to the air.
Felipe Toledo made his strategy clear from the start, defeating title hopeful, Jordy Smith, with a pair of clean boosts. Following suit Julian Wilson trounced Brett Simpson with a selection from his refined aerial repertoire.
With the morning pain au chocolat not yet fully digested, the organisers succumbed to the adverse conditions and ushered in the final rounds of King of the Groms.
Extinguished like a flickering flame in a French thunder storm, the title hopes of Taj and Jordy are no more. Tomorrow will be smaller again, and if the contest site remains at La Graviere, competitors will probably be once again faced with sparse scoring potential. This does not, however, negate the possibility of a dramatic final day.
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