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It's only the second day of competition in the Quiksilver Pro France and the contest has already taken some strange twists and turns with the top seeds.
Round two continued this morning in promising six foot plus waves at the main site of La Graviere, Hossegor, and in the very first heat, Portugal's Tiago Pires upset number five seed Josh Kerr with a decisive win. With Joel Parkinson and Adraino de Souza eliminated yesterday and Kerr this morning, three of the current top five seeds are already out of the contest. Heitor Alves, who has been enjoying a strong showing over the past two events, is also out after withdrawing because of a knee injury suffered in the Prime event in the Azores last week. Alves was replaced by Aussie Adam Melling, who lost to Kai Otten today.
With the rising tide, the swell stayed around the six foot mark all morning, but unfortunately the same weather pattern that is producing the swell brought an onshore wind and heavy cloud cover. Organizers pulled the plug on competition after only five heats of round two, but there were still a couple of exciting match ups. 2011 tour rookie Alejo Muniz came up against a fellow rookie, John John Florence in what became a battle of contrasting styles.
|John John Florence treated La Graviere like Backdoor. But he usually comes out at Backdoor.|
Florence hooked into the right barrels while Muniz floated and turned his way down the line. It looked like Florence thought he was at home on the North Shore, charging Backdoor, the way he was stalling for the barrels. If he'd made it out, the result could have gone the other way, but Muniz squeezed past him for the win.
It was Hawaii vs. Brazil again in heat seven and Dusty Payne never seemed to get into any rhythm while Gabriel Medina kept a steady pace catching more waves, and using the jet-ski assistance to his advantage. Medina has only surfed three heats at the elite level since coming onto the tour at the mid year rotation and was happy to get his first heat win.
"I feel better to have made my heat," he said after leaving the water. "I'm pretty stoked to make it through to the third round. There were still a lot of waves out there but it was pretty hard to get a good one. That's my third heat since I came to this level, so I'm stoked to have my first win."
Two years ago, Medina cemented his name in surfing history with a perfect 20-point score in the Final of the Quiksilver King of the Groms that is held each year in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro France.
|Gabriel Medina took a calculated approach and nailed the big floaters and turns to beat Florence for his first World Tour win.|
"Hossegor is a special place for me, I won the Quiksilver King of the Groms here two years ago so it's nice to be back here and competing at this different level. It's still all new to me so it's good making a heat, especially against such a good surfer like Dusty (Payne)."
It's not going to get any easier for Medina, as he is one of the lowest seeds left, and looking at drawing somebody like Slater or Wright in round three.
There is talk of bad winds and rain tomorrow, clearing through the weekend. It could be a day or two before we see how the seeding works out for the rest of the contest. While top seeds Jordy Smith, Owen Wright and Kelly Slater were unimpressive in their wins yesterday, Julian Wilson looked sharp and dangerous and there is a good chance the current ratings ladder is about to get a shake up.QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS: