A Tube Festival Within A Festival
Two-for-one deals all day at the Quiksilver Festival.
The name Cote d’Argent (or Silver Coast) refers to the stretch of coastline flanked by the Gironde estuary close to Bordeaux in the North, and the Adour river, in the South, close to Bayonne. Coined by journalist and poet Maurice Martin, its name alludes to the silver reflection of the sky over the Bay of Biscay.
Chances are, Martin came up with the term on an autumn morning such as today’s. The stiff offshores groomed perfect peaks as far as the eye could see, and contest director Miky Picon, promptly decided to get competition underway and do as much as possible before the winds could pivot onshore in the early afternoon.
The inaugural day of competition hinged around the “Best Combo” category. Its concept is rather simple: get barreled, come out, throw everything into the following turn. Hawaiian style “plate lunch” or the type of surfing we’ll never get tired of.
As for the format, surfers are paired with a teammate for the entire event, each team member getting two daily sessions in each of 4 distinct categories, competing in 4-person heats where no one gets eliminated — although their best single wave score gets added to the team’s point totals. There are no priority rules either.
A proper structure is in place, yet the entire day felt like a free surf session where you’d get a few, come in for a drink, feed, rest, and head back out. The following were some of its noteworthy moments…
Missing out on the first heat of the day — dominated by Noa Deane — for an extra pain au chocolat, the first thing I see arriving at the beach is Dimity Stoyle falling out of the sky, followed by a hefty lip towards the tightly packed sandbar, for the day’s most entertaining dismount.
To zero surprise, Aritz Aranburu punctuated a long tube on a drainer with the layback hack he’s been priming ever since he crossed the border from his side of the Basque Country a few days ago, earning his team’s highest scoring ride, a 7.6.
Hoots were heard every couple of minutes at the contest site, and they were not necessarily instigated by competitors. During lulls, a glance left or right would usually reveal someone getting spat out of a cylinder in one of the contest area adjacent peaks.
Stab’s resident birdwatcher, Paul Evans, was doing the onsite live commentary and even unearthed the old “Shane Backdorian” moniker for many a bystander’s confusion/delight. Free from the wozzle muzzle, the commentary was quick-witted and entertaining. Someone in the audience was heard saying something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t mind listening to him narrate a wildlife documentary”.
Coco Ho found her way out of a long barrel before drawing a full-rail carve to receive some of the loudest applause of the morning. The plate lunch is strong with this one.
Joan Duru pigdogged his way through the inside of one of the best waves of the morning, finishing with a full rail hack for an 8 point ride. Honorable mention goes to his teammate Marc Lacomare for putting up an excellent, and well rounded performance.
Mikey Wright tried to squeeze his way through a gradually shrinking left cone without ever bringing his hands to touch his rail, but got pinched at the end on an oddity of wave that seemed to have made its way into the lineup from an entirely different direction — almost from the south.
One of Session 1’s highlights has to be Jeremy getting a big, slabby one, pulling in, coming out of it onto flat water, hopping his way towards the oncoming wedge, and hacking its apex with might, and ultimately getting gobbled up by a monster of a lip for an 8 that would’ve surely been a 10 otherwise.
Adriano earned a big score for his team with a long barrel, roundhouse cutty and end section reo.
The waves had been cooking all morning and even improved a little with the incoming tide, when Sam Piter threw himself into a solid barrel, came out, parked it in there a little longer for extra visual stimulation before coming out to several decibels of applause.
The young local and European Pro Junior champ showed superior knowledge of the playing field with deep backhand tubes followed by surefooted turns on steep curves. Lucky enough to have both his heats in similar conditions, his intently long barrel rides rank up there with some of the best seen all day.
Clay Marzo slipped under a bomb on his backhand, and laid back into the foam ball the way only Marzo can. It’s almost as if he has an inherent need to make things a little harder for himself. Kind of coming out before getting clipped, no one was expecting a score, but everyone ends up winning with moments like these. In Session 2 he’d end up finding his way out of a chunky one, but forgetting the finishing turn. No combo meal.
Vasco Ribeiro, who had been pulling into (mostly) closeouts earlier, took off on a wave that didn’t really barrel but laid into a carve that must’ve sent spray all the way down to Spain.
CJ Hobgood’s hands-free backhand tube ride was a welcome sight and one that is seldom seen on tour these days. Class of 2024, take notes.
Someone who’s probably been taking them since childhood is Vahiné Fierro. The young Tahitian is well known for her approach at hollow left reefs, was turning some heads with her backside tube riding skills.
Jeremy got himself another standing ovation from the beach with a very long tube ride for a 9.07, the highest scoring wave of the day, that is, until Kauli Vaast slipped into a cavern on his backhand and followed up with a massive backside hack for a 9.5. The young Tahitian was a standout whether threading the inside of the throaty rights, going to the air, or ripping into the lefts on the higher tide.
On his way out to his second session, Mikey Wright took the time to shake some hands and kiss some babies before going full bore, hail mary after hail mary, which might explain his low scores. However, his air attempts entertained and elicited reactions from the crowd that many other completed rides couldn’t.
By early afternoon, the high tide had swallowed most of what was once tubular, and the final heats of the day started to feel more grovelly. Even though Shane Dorian surfed like an upgraded version of his younger self, he couldn’t find the type of waves that earned him his North Shore moniker.
Just like Dorian, Balaram Stack was surfing the high tide lefts with style, flow, and precision but couldn’t find the type of wave that most tend to associate his name with.
Noa Deane closed the final heat of the day with a lofty frontside air to fakey before readjusting direction, and a resigned Josh Kerr, stopped looking for barrels to pretty much skate the lefts all the way to the shorebreak. If there was a surfer making surfing look fun all day, it was him.
Overall, a very fun summer’s day at the beach with the added bonus of winter-like waves in the water. The only major downside being that the rest of the world can’t tune in to a live webcast this year.
As for the playlist that went on and on in the background, it felt very much off brand. Watching Jeremy Flores ride one of the best waves of the day to the sound of Nickelback was both an enthralling and repulsive experience. The Coldplay track that followed didn’t help either. Hit me up if you need this sorted, I know some people…
The Quiksilver Festival resumes tomorrow at 8AM CEST at Les Culs Nus, Hossegor.
Session 1 Results:
Team 1 – Michel Bourez/Jeremy Flores: 8.10 + 8.00
Team 2 – Noa Deane/Balaram Stack: 8.13 + 2.17
Team 3 – Kael Walsh/Mikey Wright: 1.70 + 1.83
Team 4 – Aritz Aranburu/Vasco Ribeiro: 7.60 + 4.33
Team 5 – CJ Hobgood/Adriano de Souza: 3.83 + 7.00
Team 6 – Shane Dorian/Jackson Dorian: 1.50 + 6.87
Team 7 – Josh Kerr/Sierra Kerr: 6.67 + 3.23
Team 8 – Maud Le Car/Sam Piter: 3.17 + 3.57
Team 9 – Dimity Stoyle/Laura Enever: 1.67 + 2.60
Team 10 – Coco Ho/Mason Ho: 7.77 + 5.77
Team 11 – Joan Duru/Marc Lacomare: 8.00 + 7.33
Team 12 – Vahiné Fierro/Kauli Vaast: 5.50 + 3.40
Team 13 – Al Cleland/Clay Marzo: 6.83 + 2.83
Session 2 Results:
Team 1 – Michel Bourez/Jeremy Flores: 6.93 + 9.07
Team 2 – Noa Deane/Balaram Stack: 5.83 + 3.77
Team 3 – Kael Walsh/Mikey Wright: 3.33 + 2.60
Team 4 – Aritz Aranburu/Vasco Ribeiro: 5.37 + 5.23
Team 5 – CJ Hobgood/Adriano de Souza: 6.80 + 3.93
Team 6 – Shane Dorian/Jackson Dorian: 5.23 + 5.00
Team 7 – Josh Kerr/Sierra Kerr: 3.17 + 5.87
Team 8 – Maud Le Car/Sam Piter: 5.17 + 6.37
Team 9 – Dimity Stoyle/Laura Enever: 4.83 + 4.27
Team 10 – Coco Ho/Mason Ho: 6.00 + 1.33
Team 11 – Joan Duru/Marc Lacomare: 7.20 + 5.93
Team 12 – Vahiné Fierro/Kauli Vaast: 2.93 + 9.50
Team 13 – Al Cleland/Clay Marzo: 6.83 + 6.87
- Team 1 – Michel Bourez/Jeremy Flores: 32.10
- Team 11 – Joan Duru/Marc Lacomare: 28.46
- Team 13 – Al Cleland/Clay Marzo: 23.36
- Team 4 – Aritz Aranburu/Vasco Ribeiro: 22.53
- Team 5 – CJ Hobgood/Adriano de Souza: 21.56
- Team 12 – Vahiné Fierro/Kauli Vaast: 21.33
- Team 10 – Coco Ho/Mason Ho: 20.87
- Team 2 – Noa Deane/Balaram Stack: 19.90
- Team 7 – Josh Kerr/Sierra Kerr: 18.94
- Team 6 – Shane Dorian/Jackson Dorian: 18.60
- Team 8 – Maud Le Car/Sam Piter: 18.28
- Team 9 – Dimity Stoyle/Laura Enever: 13.37
- Team 3 – Kael Walsh/Mikey Wright: 9.46
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