Quiksilver Pro France 2012: Day Four Highlights
Kelly Slater paused just before the fenced-off slope down out of the contest area and into the crowd. Most surfers, once off the scaffold, start a proper jog, gaze held low, striding purposeful and with over-emphasized legs until the water’s edge. But Slater stops at the top. A pause. The sun is dipping delightfully, perhaps four fingers at most from the western horizon, where it will surely melt in glorious purples, oranges and pinks. He beholds the scene for perhaps ten seconds, but it feels like longer. Joel Parkinson, the only surfer in the world ranked above him still in the competition has just surfed an emphatic combo schooling of Gabriel Medina to the north of the site. Kelly heads south.
With the sun a further finger lower, and already with a 9.2 under his belt, Kelly lurches straight from take off into a no-hands left pit (I think they call it a backside bluetooth these days). Strangely reminiscent of one of those old Cloudbreak pics on the yellow board from the ’90s. Deep behind a round drainer of a section, he exits to a figure-eight roundhouse complete with Kelly flop to stand back up on the foam. It’s a legit ten. The perfect ride.
Day 4 ended with a bang as some of the best waves of the entire contest rolled through offering up a visual feast for the crowd on the beach. Mick Fanning is the only surfer out of the current top 4 that failed to make it into the semis. The final day, which begins this evening in the US around 10:45PM Pacific, will be amazing. This is one of the tightest races for the ASP World Title that has ever happened. Not to be missed!