South Africa’s Jordy Smith clinched third place in the Quiksilver Pro France, Stop No. 9 of 11 on the ASP World Championship (WCT), to move up to 9th on the rankings with two events still to be run before the 2014 World Surfing Champion is crowned.
The event was won by Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence who dominated the final rounds of competition held in heaving two to three metre hollow waves, defeating Jadson Andre (BRA) in the Final.
Smith was on fire from the outset, winning his opening encounter in smaller 1.5 metre waves last week to advance directly to Round 3 where he defeated Julian Wilson (AUS). Victory over Taj Burrow (AUS) and Andre in Round 4 saw Smith progress to the Quarterfinals. There he defeated current ASP World No. 2 Kelly Slater (USA) before being eliminated by Andre in their Semifinal duel.
“Felt like I had a good heat against Kelly (Slater), then I couldn’t buy a wave in my Semifinal,” Smith said. “Congrats to Jadson (Andre) though. He’s been surfing well all event and he’s hungry for a result. I’m looking forward to the next one.”
Following the elimination of current ASP WCT rankings leader Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Quarterfinals, Smith’s clash with Slater held huge title implications and the 11-time ASP World Champion’s loss means that the 20 year-old Brazilian can now clinch the 2014 ASP World Title by winning the next event in Portugal.
Florence has been on a roll in recent events, collecting a 3rd in Tahiti and a Runner-Up finish to Smith in Trestles before his win in the South of France. Florence has moved from 8th to 5th on the ASP WCT rankings and has vaulted himself into contention for the 2014 world surfing crown.
“I’m really pumped with my results lately,” Florence said. “I had a few weird things happen for me at the start of the year and I’ve made some adjustments recently. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys about the title and they all say that the title campaign actually starts the year before. I’m hoping for a few more good results this season to really make a run for it in 2015. I guess today’s win puts me in contention for this year, but Gabriel (Medina) is so far ahead that some weird stuff would have to happen.”
South Africa’s Travis Logie placed 13th in France after beating Nat Young (USA) in Round 2 before narrowly losing to Slater in Round 3. Logie retains his 31st spot on the rankings and will have to be at his very best in the last two events of the season to move into the top 22 who automatically re-qualify for the elite WCT in 2015.
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