Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Surfing [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Final day fever pitch


On Friday, Oct. 5, the weather in Hossegor, France, was clear and cool in the early morning. The wind was straight offshore and the lines of swell that marched into the Bay of Biscay were ruler edged. During previous days the surfers had to guess which waves would be open barrels and which would be closeouts. Not this day. The corners were clearly visible even in the pre-dawn light and the world's best threaded through the tubes with ease. The lineup at Graviere was packed even though the surfers had only a 30-minute window before the contest began at 8 am sharp. The flashbulbs of water photographers popped as they rode past them under the lip. During a short break between the semis and the finals, the hungry pack attacked the waves again, as conditions were still perfect. Then it was back at it once more after watching Kelly Slater win the Quiksilver Pro France for the first time. Finally, though, around noon, the tide got too low, the swell began to drop and the wave fever began to subside -- but not until everybody had their fill.