Garcia, 30, has lead from the season’s onset, winning back-to-back events in Australia, and with half of the year’s tournaments already decided, his chances of an elusive world title are looking increasingly secure. Against Lowe today in the inconsistent 3-4 foot conditions, however, he admitted feeling far from confident.
“I had a pretty slow heat, I couldn’t get anything over a 6,” said a relieved Garcia afterward. “Luckily for me Mick had a shocker of a heat and I got the better of the waves. It looked like he got a really good last wave, but fortunately the judges didn’t think it was worth as much as I thought it was. I’m happy… into the quarter-finals which is a good result. Every time I’ve passed the ninth round I’ve made the finals this year, so hopefully that stays true and I can make up more points in this event and have a good run through Europe.
“I think about it everyday (the world title),” continued Garcia. “I figure if I can get a good enough run through Europe and make enough points, hopefully I can clinch the title before Hawaii and not have to leave it up to another Kelly Slater 1995 deal (when Garcia lead at the final event, only to watch American Kelly Slater win the Pipe Masters and his third of now six world titles from under him). Everybody’s close and Luke (Egan) is no slouch, he’s been surfing good. Going into Hawaii, if it’s close, Luke is very dangerous at Pipe and it could be very interesting.”[IMAGE 2]Lopez, currently rated 17th, further helped Garcia’s cause when he out-scored Egan in their 30-minute clash. Due to the low-tide both surfers agreed to postpone their heat for one hour, but when it surfed, the incoming water did no favors for the current world number-two.
“I started well with a 7, then it kind of became bumpy out there,” explained Lopez. “I fell on a couple of good ones, then Luke caught the first wave of a set and I got the one behind it which turned out to be my best wave of the heat. I kind of put him in a hole needing an 8.60 and he never came back. I was pretty stoked.
“So far it’s been good (France), we’ve had overhead waves everyday,” he continued. “I’m feeling really confident. I’ve beaten some really good surfers. Shane Beschen (USA) in the last round, Michael Campbell (Aus) in the first round… I just feel really confident.”
Campbell (Aus), despite losing to Lopez in round one, did fight back in round two and today eliminated Brazilian Victor Ribas in their fourth round match. The Australian won the last WCT three weeks ago in California and used his strong backhand surfing attack to defeat Ribas.[IMAGE 3]“You could only really do two turns per wave out there now,” Campbell reasoned afterward. “You just had to be lucky to find a good wave. I’m feeling good, really relaxed. I’m just trying to have some fun.”
Official Results of TC Lacanau Pro Day Three
Heat 1: N Padaratz (Brz) 19.05 def. CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.15
Heat 2: R Machado (USA) 21.35 def. P O’Connell (USA) 15.30
Heat 3: J Paterson (Aus) 22.20 def. S Dorian (Haw) 15.50
Heat 4: S Garcia (Haw) 18.80 def. M Lowe (Aus) 14.75
Heat 5: S Lopez (USA) 19.80 def. L Egan (Aus) 16.00
Heat 6: R Williams (Haw) 19.65 def. D Wills (Aus) 18.05
Heat 7: M Campbell (Aus) 20.55 def. V Ribas (Brz) 17.50
Heat 8: A Daltro (Brz) 18.10 def. G Herdy (Brz) 16.15