Quiksilver Airshow suspended in apocalyptic conditions
A huge spectator crowd : photo Quiksilver
Sables d??Or beach,
14th August 2002
Airshow suspended in Apocalyptic conditions!
The Quiksilver Airshow was called off last night by the organisers moments before the finals, due to the approach of severe electrical thunder storms.
The event was a huge success none the less, with some 10,000 surfing fans crammed into the areas of the Club Beach in Anglet??s ?®Chambre d??Amour?∆ to get a glimpse of this futuristic display. The scene was much like a modern day version of a gladiatorial Arena, with hoards of cheering fans lining the natural amphitheatre provided by the rocks, under the neon glow of the powerful flood lights, all this spurred on by loud rock music and an enthused commentary.
The clouds of sea mist drifting up from the beach added yet another mystical touch, as the crowd voiced their support for their favourite contenders, in most cases this was 14 year old under-dog favourite Jeremy Flores, who??s small stature was favourable to doing airs in the 2-3 foot conditions on offer.
The Qualifying rounds of the contest were held during the day, under markedly different conditions. The sun was shining brightly, and the waves were clean, 3ft and peeling. Competition was tough though, under the approving gaze of the Indies Trader, the boat of the Quiksilver Crossing, moored off the beaches of Anglet in support of the event. In the end, 20 surfers made it through to the main event, to be held at around 9pm after a couple of hours break to allow for a meal and some rest.
Come 9pm, the band struck out and the main event kicked off under ominous skies and the occasional lightning bolt splitting the horizon to add a supernatural dimension the entertainment. The sets were fairly spaced out, and the crowd waited with bated breath as the first ones rolled in.
It was Ben Bourgeois who caught the first wave and managed to land a frontside air to reverse which instantly provoked an explosion of applause from the audience and heralded the beginning of the action. The four heats of the first round were exciting and colourful in terms of surfing even if the smaller sets sometimes lacked the power to launch the larger aerialists.
The cut was soon made, and the first of the semi-finals got under way, with Ben Bourgeois, Jarod Morrel, Nick Wallace and Laurent Pujol. By the time this heat was over, the weather was already deteriorating, with the first few drops of rain and the approach of black skies and lightning from the south, pushed forward by an increasingly strong onshore wind.
Never the less, the second heat hit the water, and was comprised of Dave Reardon-Smith, Troy Brooks Jay Quinn and Jeremy Flores, and was undoubtedly dominated by both the quality of tricks and popularity of this last surfer, who put on an extremely convincing show against opponents twice his age and size.
However, all good things must come to an end, and before the heat was over, the final whistle was blown as much for safety reasons as for the comfort of spectators who risked being soaked at any moment by the approaching storm front. Anyway, no cause for alarm, as there is always next year to look forward to, when the show shall be even more spectacular, and hopefully take place under slightly more clement conditions.
Once again, a big thank you to the event sponsors; MCM, Surf Sessions, Conseil Regional Pyrenese Atalntiques, Kodak, Caisse d??Epargne, E.Leclerc, NRG, and the town of Anglet. Thanks to all those who turned up and see you next year....