The ASP Top 34 have joined their female counterparts in the Southwest region of France for Stop No. 9 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France, running from September 25 through October 6.
The Quiksilver Pro France kicks off the European leg of the 2014 tour and the world’s best surfers are in the midst for an historic race for the ASP World Title.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), current ASP World No. 1, has collected three victories this year at the Gold Coast, Fiji and Tahiti and is the frontrunner for this season’s world surfing crown. At 20 years young, the prodigious goofy-footer could be the first male title holder of such a young age since icon Kelly Slater achieved his inaugural world champion status in 1992. Medina could also become the first Brazilian to ever hold the title.
“France holds lots of great memories for me,” Medina said. “I won my first WCT event here and I love the waves. The people and food and culture are all very special. I’ve had a strong year so far but it’s far from over. I’m hoping for a good showing in Europe.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 2, has had a consistent season in 2014, but has yet to collect a victory from any of the previous eight stops.
“It’s been an interesting year and Gabe (Medina) has had a lot of really strong results,” Slater said. “Of course I’d love it to go down to Pipeline, but there’s a lot of groundwork that needs to be done in France and Portugal first. I have a lot of history here in France and always enjoy coming here. Realistically, I need to have podium finishes from here on out.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), reigning three-time ASP World Champion and defending Quiksilver Pro France Champion, posted strong wins at Bells Beach and Jeffreys Bay this season and currently sits at ASP World No. 3 heading into the final three events.
“I’ve had a good year so far but have collected a few less-than-ideal results that are holding me back,” Fanning said. “As long as there’s a chance, I’m here to battle for it. Historically, I’ve been pretty strong through this part of the season so hopefully I can make it interesting through these next few events.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), a 8-year veteran of the elite ASP WCT, currently sits at No. 33 on the rankings and at risk of falling off tour following a year of tough results and a recent misconduct suspension. Flores will look for redemption in his Hossegor home this week.
“There’s always a lot of pressure competing in your home,” Flores said. “I’ve never really had a great result at this contest. I’ve had a tough year. Close heats and some mistakes. If I ever needed to perform at home, this is the time.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am (local time) to assess conditions and make a call for the day.
When competition commences, up first will be Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) and Travis Logie (ZAF) in the opening heat of Round 1.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver Pro France, are calling for:
WNW swell to continue through the end of the week. Reinforcing swell due for the weekend, continuing into Monday of next week.
The Quiksilver Pro France will be webcast LIVE at ASPWorldTour.com
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Match-Ups (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd & 3rd to Round 2) :
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW), Julian Wilson (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Running in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro France will be Stop No. 8 of 10 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Roxy Pro France:
Roxy Pro France Round 1 Match-Ups (1st advances to Round 3, 2nd & 3rd to Round 2):
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (HAW), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Lee-Ann Curren (FRA)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!