The world’s best surfers have arrived in the Southwest of France for the next stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, which holds a competitive window of October 6 – 17, 2015.
Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion and current Jeep Rankings Leader, has had one of the most dramatic years in sport history, surviving a Great White Shark attack in the Final of the J-Bay Open in July before capturing the rankings’ lead with a win at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. For Fanning, who has always been strong in Europe, the French event poses a golden opportunity for the Australian to consolidate his title lead.
“I always love coming to France,” Fanning said. “The constantly changing conditions present a lot of challenges and a lot of opportunities. Typically, the surfers who do well in these events are able to stay focused and adapt to changing tides, winds, swells, sand bars, etc. Looking forward to a great event.”
Adriano de Souza (BRA), current WSL No. 2, is into his 10th year amongst the world’s elite and has been threatening to claim a world title for several years now. De Souza is well positioned to make a run at the Jeep Leader spot in Europe and the Brazilian will be applying his impressive power-based approached and competitive savvy to the Quiksilver Pro France.
Jeremy Flores (FRA), the sole European representative on the men’s tour, heads into France as current WSL No. 8 after claiming the second CT win of his career in Tahiti despite a head injury that forced him to miss the J-Bay Open.
“It’s been a great year for me,” Flores said. “I’ve been concentrating and staying positive and surfing a lot and that’s translated into results. I had my head injury, but was able to recover after missing J-Bay and win in Tahiti. My surfing has never felt better and it’s always an honor to represent my country at this event.”
John John Florence (HAW), defending Quiksilver Pro France winner, has been a WSL Title threat since he first qualified in 2011. After finishing 4th in 2014, this season looked solid until the young Hawaiian was sidelined with an ankle injury in Rio de Janeiro. Fully healed now, Florence will look to repeat the magic from last year’s French event and he prepares for the season-ending events and looks ahead to 2016.
“Great to be back in France and it looks like we have swell on the way,” Florence said. “Winning here was a big deal for me last year and I’m hoping to find similar form this week. Hasn’t been the season I wanted with the injury, but I’m looking to build strong through the rest of the season.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA), current Jeep Rankings Leader, has been in fantastic form this season, postings wins in Margaret River, Rio de Janeiro and Cascais to take the frontrunner position heading into the final two events of the year.
“It’s been an unbelievable year and to have the Jeep Leader jersey at the second-to-last event feels great,” Conlogue said. “It’s far from over though. All the girls have been surfing amazing this year. There are no easy heats and Carissa (Moore) is right there.”
Carissa Moore (HAW), two-time WSL Champion and current WSL No. 2, opened the 2015 season incredibly strong with back-to-back wins on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach and has maintained a sizzling form throughout the season. The Hawaiian’s lead, however, was disrupted at the previous event in Portugal and she’ll look to regain it here in France.
“It’s been quite a battle for that No. 1 spot this year,” Moore said. “Courtney had it heading into Trestles, then I grabbed it heading into Portugal and now Courtney has it back. I guess it’s my turn to take it back here in France. Hoping the waves turn on and we have a good event.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning six-time WSL Champion, has been absent from the competitive arena since sustaining a knee injury in Western Australia in April. The Roxy Pro France will be Gilmore’s first event back in six events and the world is eager to see the Australian back in fighting form.
“It’s been a lengthy recovery, but I’m excited to put the jersey back on here in France,” Gilmore said. “I always love coming here and I’m looking forward to a great event.”
Event organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. to assess conditions for a possible start.
Surfline, official forecasters for the World Surf League (WSL), are calling for:
Plenty of swell stacking up with volatile conditions. Sizable dose of short to mid period West swell moves in for first couple days of event, but conditions not looking favorable with onshore flow. Conditions improve on the backside of that swell over second half of week. Good shot of longer period West swell from Joaquin lining up for the weekend, with conditions looking a little suspect right now.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be webcast LIVE on worldsurfleague.com and via the WSL app.
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), Tomas Hermes (BRA)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), John John Florence (HAW), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 12: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
ROXY PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW), Chelsea Tuach (BRB)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA)