The world’s best surfers have arrived in France for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France.
With the holding period starting tomorrow, this event will be critical in both the women’s and men’s World Title races.
When competition gets underway, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will be the only surfer who can claim the World Title in France. The winner of the JBay Open feels in-rhythm this season, as evidenced by her lead over the elite field, and is focused on winning her 7th World Championship.
Gilmore earned her 5th World Title at the Roxy Pro France in 2012 and could replicate the victory again this year.
“France is definitely one of my favorite stops on Tour,” Gilmore said. “To have the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey here is really cool. It’s also nerve-wracking, but I’m here for one thing: to win and do my very best.
Lakey Peterson (USA), current World No. 2, is the only surfer who can stop Gilmore from winning the World Title at the Roxy Pro France. Peterson is gunning for her maiden World Title and will need a big result to keep her campaign alive and halt Gilmore’s run.
Coming into the Quiksilver Pro, the men’s rankings host a tight race between Jeep Frontrunner Filipe Toledo (BRA) and 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA). Toledo is very aware of Medina’s and the Top 5’s potential and is ready to do battle in France.
“My strategy right now is just to stay ahead of everyone,” said Toledo, who also won the JBay Open in Jeffreys Bay earlier in the season.
“This late in the year, the Title race has taken shape so you just want to do better than the other guys in the top 5. I’m in a good position right now. I waited a long time to get hold of the Jeep Leader Jersey and I don’t want to let it go.”
Medina has significantly strengthened his World Title campaign after the two previous CT events (Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o and Surf Ranch Pro).
His success positions him firmly in second place, well within striking distance of the coveted Title. Medina is also the favorite at the Quiksilver Pro France after winning last year, in 2011 and 2015, and earning second place in 2013 and 2016.
But the local crowds in Hossegor will mostly have eyes for Jeremy Flores (FRA), a perennial threat on the Championship Tour for the past twelve years. A result on home turf has always eluded the Frenchman, who has shone on the world stage in Hawaii and Tahiti in the past.
Flores will look to keep away from the added pressure of performing on his waves to put on a good show in France and reach the final series for the first time.
This year, the event will also feature the Red Bull Airborne, an aerial specialty event featuring 18 of the most innovative surfers in the air, both on and off the Championship Tour.
Surfline, forecast partner of the WSL, is calling for:
Modest/fun size NW swell and favorable winds prevail on Wednesday. Decreasing surf is expected Thursday into the first half of Friday as favorable conditions continue.
A slight bump in surf is possible Friday afternoon and Saturday. Increased onshore wind and building, wind affected, poor quality surf looks likely Sunday. The last few days of the event window look more promising for swell and wind/weather.
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Yago Dora (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Jorgann Couzinet (REU)
Heat 7: Wade Carmichael (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 11: Mikey Wright (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 12: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Roxy Pro France Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Vahine Fierro (PYF)
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)