Quiksilver Pro France Kicks Off European Leg of Tour
Fanning in Ratings Lead as ASP World Tour Heads to Hossegor
The Quiksilver Pro France waiting period begins on Thursday, September 26th. It appears that contest organizers will start Round 1 immediately as the surf forecast is looking to get progressively smaller throughout the waiting period. The world’s best surfers will be battling it out for crucial ratings points in order to either stay on tour, or obtain the coveted ASP World Tour Championship crown!
The Title Race
After Taj Burrow’s win at the Hurley Pro, the ratings lead has changed a bit. Mick Fanning now sits in the lead with a slim margin over 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater. Jordy Smith remains in third while Taj jumps up into fourth place after the Hurley Pro win. Parko slips to a distant fifth, but is still mathematically in the race.
While Jordy has a real shot, his consistency has plagued him throughout the season. If he can stay focused and in form, he has a good chance of taking a win in France, and to be in the mix with Slater and Fanning at year’s end.
The real title race is between Kelly and Mick. While Mick is the definition of consistency, Slater has been all over the place. Mick has yet to post a victory in 2013, while Kelly has two epic wins (Gold Coast, Fiji). Both surfers are capable of strong finishes in France no matter what the conditions are, but Slater is the returning champion of the event. Kelly has made it vocal that he wants a 12th World Title, but has yet to really take hold of the situation and distance himself from Mick and Jordy. Regardless, whichever surfer places better in France will take that momentum to Portugal and Pipe.
The Re-Qualifying Group
Several surfers will be on the hot seat at the Quik Pro France as they try to re-qualify for the 2014 World Tour. Matt Wilkinson, Brett Simpson, Damien Hobgood, Kieren Perrow, and Miguel Pupo are all in danger of dropping off the tour and need a strong result. Each of these four surfers are world class, but they just can’t seem to get it together in 2013.
Matty Wilko should be in the top 15, but has posted a stream of 13ths and 25ths after some unlucky heats. Simpo has had his worst year on tour, and it seems his upcoming fatherhood has taken his mind off of the game. He has withdrawn from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal to be present for the birth of his baby, which will put him even further down the ratings. Damo Hobgood is one of the greatest goofy-foots of all time, but has failed to show any gusto in 2013 and has not made it past Round 3. Kieren is one of the world’s best heavy-wave chargers, but just can’t keep up at the smaller beach break venues anymore, and will undoubtedly take a position in the ASP at year’s end. Expect the highly intelligent Perrow to be President or Director of the ASP within two years. Miguel Pupo is certainly a World Tour performer and will be a Top 10 contender for many years, but what happened in 2013? Miggy pulled the best two airs of the Hurley Pro and still couldn’t win his heats = bad luck and better opponents. He needs to stay focused.
Considering the great number of surfers injured this year, the two injury wildcard slots will be worth their weight in gold. Owen Wright will be out the rest of the year due to a bulged disc, so if he’s healthy in February 2014 he’ll get one of the wildcard slots. As for the other injury wildcard? Well, it’s the ASP’s call who gets it. Glenn Hall, Tiago Pires, and Dusty Payne will be eligible for the second wildcard, but it’s anyone’s guess who will get it. Miguel Pupo and Freddy P have both missed events due to injuries, but their return to the tour will stifle any injury wildcard hopes.
Watch these title races and re-qualifying bids unfold at the Quiksilver Pro France LIVE tonight at 11:00pm PST!
All photos courtesy ASP Images.
2013 Quiksilver Pro France heat draw:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Adam Melling (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 8: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF), John John Florence (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
2013 Quiksilver Pro France Teaser
Quiksilver Pro France 2012 – The Story (Epic mini-movie of last year’s event featuring several interviews)