Gabriel Medina doing what he does best above the lip at last years Quick Pro France. Photo WSL/Poullenot
Bonjour and welcome to stop number 9 of the World Surf League Championship Tour. La Graviere on the South West coast of France will play host to worlds best surfers and a major role in the world title race. Heaving and shifting beach breaks will be the theme at this event stop. The worlds best will hack, punt and tube ride their way to the final in what could determine the who and the when in world title race. Ce’st La Vie!
Swell Height: Head-high to double overhead+
Swell Direction: W to NW
Swell Period: 9-12” Ideal
Wind Direction: E
Tide: Low-to-Mid at Hossegor; Any tide at La Graviere
Water Temp: (avg. seasonal temp) Sep - 20.8C/69.4F Oct - 18.7C/65.6F
Bottom: Sand Bank
Can you say controversy?? Lowers was filled with it. If you’ve kept your finger on the surfing world pulse you’d know that the WSL judges copped a shit storm of criticism (online and from the line up) for a couple of round 2 and 3 heats. More notably, Gabriel Medina vs Tanner G. Read more on that here
Jordy Smith played king of the castle at Lower Trestles, taking the win over a surprising stand out of Joel Parkinson. The big man from South Africa got the jump on Joel by 0.44. A real nail biter. Amongst all this there were some massive world title complications, with rankings leaders John Florence, Gabe Medina and Matty Wilkinson, all bowing out in early stages due to the horrible scoring. Even Barton Lynch lost his mind over the scoring! King Kelly and Filipe Toledo had great performances with quarter and semi final finishes. Rookies, Jack Freestone and Connor Coffin who were expected to excel bombed out in round 3 along with Italo Ferreira and Adrian Buchan. Watch these two guys fire in France.
Ins and Outs
Out: Bede Durbidge
Out: Owen Wright
Out: Mick Fanning
In: Dusty Payne
The wildcards will be WQS rippers Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) and Joan Duru (FRA)
Offical Surfline Forecast
Brief Overview: An active North Atlantic looks to provide fun to potentially good size swell for the first few to several days of the waiting period. Wind forecasts have also been looking decent and watching these closely.
Our first area of interest will be low pressure pushing out of Canada Friday and across the North Atlantic Saturday. This becomes part of a larger complex low that is expected to set up between SE Greenland and Iceland Sunday/Monday before weakening heading into mid next week. The initial swell from this will fill be filling in on Tuesday. Thanks to a lengthy duration fetch, fun size, steady mid period WNW swell from this will continue through the middle and into the end of next week. Long-range guidance is in decent agreement that high pressure will be over the region which would result in lighter winds.
If France fires this year expect the highest performance beach break surfing out of all the tour stops.
Helpful Hint: Find a dark horse pick for max points.
Tier A: After my horrible performance at Lowers, I need to dust myself off. You can bet the top 5 surfers will have their game face on after Lowers. Pick numero uno is John John Florence. If John surfs smart heats in France you can bet your house he will make it through to at least the quarters and if he makes it that far he’ll go onto the final. Sitting at world number one and searching for his maiden world title you can be sure John will showcase his freakish talent.
If Trestles didn’t light a furnace under Gabriel Medina then ill take to my favourite short board with a chain saw. Medina is a fierce competitor at any given time, let alone having a fire underneath him. Watch him turn super beast mode on.
Other Tier A Options:Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith.
Tier B: Remember how i mentioned the word “furnace” earlier?? I know Julian Wilson has had a pretty modest season with more downs than up, but I’m a big Julian fan and after his little upset to Alex Ribero at Lowers, I’m expecting a furnace underneath him as well. JW has all the tricks in the book to do well here, and he’ll need to pull them out in order to get a solid result. Adriano De Souza. The guy is just super consistent and can’t seem fall off his board, I’m sure he uses some miracle wax or super glue under his feet. Either way lock him in. Stuart Kennedy is out to solidify his spot for 2017 on the CT, he’s been surfing out of his skin lately and is no stranger to a heavy beach break. Stu is also out to take the rookie of the year title. Pick him and watch your points stack up!
Other Tier B Options: Josh Kerr, Filipe Toldeo,
Tier C:Local boy Jeremy Flores finds himself falling off tour next year if he doesn’t dust off his boots at his home event. Jeremy is a class surfer and revels in the powerful stuff. Jack Freestone is also going back to the minor leagues if he doesn’t find a keeper result at France. Light these guys up.
Other Tier C Options: Adam Melling, Alejo Muniz
Dark Horse: Kolohe Andino
The World Title Race Check-in Right now the world title is shaping up to be a 3 - 5 horse race. JJF still holds the yellow jersey, but Medina is hot on his heels. Matt Wilko needs to find some serious form if he’s to pull a rabbit out the metaphorical hat. Jordy Smith is in the mix and Kelly is an outside chance to take his 12th title, but will need to produce some flawless surfing over the next 3 events.
The Re-Qualification Race The race to re-qualify for the big leagues is always an interesting one. Any surfer sitting below the cut off rank of 22nd will miss out on a spot for 2017. The battle going on at the bottom of the ladder right now is an intense one. Most notably the rookies are scratching and deploying their plan b option of trying to back them selves on the QS. Jadson Andre is sitting on the bubble at 22nd. Miguel Pupo, Connor Coffin, Adam Melling, Davey Cathels, Jack Freestone, Jeremy Flores, Kai Otton and Ryan Callinan all need to dig deep in order to qualify for 2017.
Past Quicksilver Pro France Winners
2014John John Florence
Summery: Ill keep running with the furnace theme here. Every single surfer needs win as many heats as possible from here on in. A raging fire will be lit under the worlds best. With world titles looming and qualification for 2017 on the line. Watch all your favourites light up the heavy French beach breaks for what could be a deciding factor in the 2016 world title.
Event kicks off Oct 4th
Mens Round 1 Heat Draw
Heat 1 - Joel Parkinson, Nat Young, Matt Banting
Heat 2 - Kelly Slater, Kaona Igarashi, Keanu Asing
Heat 3 - Jordy Smith, Jadson Andre, Kai Otton
Heat 4 - Matt Wilkinson, Miguel Pupo, Ryan Callinan
Heat 5 - Gabriel Medina, Dusty Payne, Leonardo Fioravanti
Heat 6 - John Florence, Connor Coffin, Joan Duru
Heat 7 - Ace Buchan, Stuart Kennedy, Jeremy Flores
Heat 8 - Italo Ferreira, Wiggly Dantas, Alex Ribero
Heat 9 - Julian Wilson, Caio Ibelli, Alejo Muniz
Heat 10 - Kolohe Andino, Sebastian Zeitz, Jack Freestone
Heat 11 - Filipe Toledo, Josh Kerr, Davey Cathles,
Heat 12 - Adriano De Souza, Michel Bourez, Adam Melling