Hossegor, France – Current ratings leader Andy Ironsdominated the Quiksilver Pro France Saturday with the highest combined two-wave total of the event for 18.15-points.
The $250,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT) recommenced with round four heats, and only eight quarterfinalists are now left in contention.
Great 4-5ft (1.5m) waves were on offer at the main site of Le Nord this morning, but high tide conditions forced organizers to relocate north to Estagnots for the remaining round four heats yesterday, following the women’s Roxy Pro France.
Irons, who eliminated Taylor Knox (USA), posted a 9.15 for a great barrel ride, and then a 9.0 following a full array of maneuvers on another wave, including his trademark forehand reverse 360. He will now meet fellow Hawaiian Kalani Robb in the second quarterfinal, after the goofy foot accounted for Maz Quinn (NZ) in their match.
“I’m so psyched,” said Irons, on moving into the quarterfinals.
“I got lucky in that heat with Taylor, getting a barrel at the beginning and it paid off good. Then my other wave had a good section, with a little crumble coming towards me and I was feeling pretty confident, so I just went for a little spinner. The wave lined up well all the way to the beach, and it ended up being a good score.”
Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) controlled his heat against Paul Canning (SAfr). Current #43 Neco Padaratz (Brz) continued to improve on his best result of the year, moving past Richie Lovett (Aus) into the quarterfinals.
Reigning world champ CJ Hobgood (USA) then lost the following match, in another extremely close battle with Jake Paterson (Aus).
In the Roxy Pro France, finishing equal third were Kauaians Keala Kennelly and Rochelle Ballard.
Kennelly moved into fourth position on the current ratings. Ballard is in ninth. Layne Beachley won the final of the Roxy Pro over Sofia Mulanovich (Peru).
z Kelly Slater vs. Luke Hitchings
z Kalani Robb vs. Andy Irons
z Neco Padaratz vs. Damien Hobgood
z Jake Paterson vs. Luke Egan