Title Race Heats Up at the 2012 Quiksilver Pro France

Fanning, Parkinson, Slater, and Florence Still in the Mix For a World Title

As Round 1 action begins tomorrow at the Quiksilver Pro France spectators will be focused on the tight ratings battle between the top 4 surfers on tour. While Mick Fanning has been leading in the points totals for two events now, Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater are nipping at his heels after the Hurley Pro, and John John Florence is close behind in fourth place on the leader board.

The first heats will begin tomorrow in lackluster conditions as the onshore flow from a low pressure system over the British Isles continues to push windswell into the region. The surf drops slowly on Saturday and beyond, so count on some lay days after Round 1.

Hossegor will hopefully deliver the goods through the later rounds of the event as the first few days of the waiting period are not looking too good.

The ratings leaders have some tough first round match-ups.

Mick Fanning will take on a fiery Travis Logie and the trials winner and overall ripper Wiggolly Dantas. Travis has done well in France in the past and Wiggolly (best name ever) will be on fire considering he just toppled some big names today in the trials in similar conditions.

Mick Fanning is so fit and focused that he will be the man to beat at any event that remains this year including the Quik Pro France.

Joel Parkinson has a hard road ahead of him as well as he faces off against the methodical Bede Durbidge and the unpredictable super-talented Dane Reynolds. Bede is looking to get a strong result at the Quik Pro after some disappointing early round losses at the last few events. Dane has no pressure as he is not on tour, so expect some fireworks from the stylish regular-footer.

Parko is nipping at Fannings heels for the World Title. The Quik Pro France will be a game changer for sure.

Kelly Slater has a relatively easy Round 1 heat. Look for Kelly to blow away Tiago Pires and Dusty Payne with his usual display of mind-bending rail carves and above-the-lip antics. Slater has historically placed poorly (by Slater standards) at the Quik Pro France and is especially eager and vocal about wanting to post a strong result at the heavy beachbreak. That’s bad news for the other 35 competitors.

With Slater's win at Trestles last week, you would have to think that he will use the momentum wisely at the Quik Pro France. Watch out ASP Top 35.

John John Florence is just under 9,000 points behind ratings leader Mick Fanning. That seems like a lot, but a win is worth 10,000 points and would advance John John right to the top as long as the other top three have a bad event. John John is up against a beachbreak wizard in Miguel Pupo and a solid performer in Patrick Gudauskas. Given the conditions, this heat should be filled with aerials.

John John will be a threat in any conditions. Windy slop = John John punting the biggest airs of the day. Pumping Barrels = John John getting the deepest tubes of the day. Take your pick.

Other notable surfers that have a strong chance at taking the Quik Pro France:

Adriano De Souza – ADS is unstoppable in any conditions, but windy beachbreak is ideal for the snappy performer. Look for his consistency to take him deep into the final rounds.

Adriano will bring his usual mix of competitiveness, intensity, and talent to the Quik Pro France.

Julian WilsonJulian is so hungry for a win. His style of speed, power, and flow is a judges wet dream. If he can stay focused he can do well and will take the event.

Julian (with Jordy in background) did well at last year's Quik Pro france. 2012 is a new year and he will have to keep up the pace to do well again.

Gabriel Medina – Last year’s winner of the Quik Pro France will have to step it up to repeat his performance from last year. If he gets the ramps on the lefts he will be unbeatable.

This ridiculously inverted FS 360 air received a perfect ten from the judges last year en route to Medina's first WT victory. Expect more of the same this year.

Josh Kerr – Kerr is also very hungry for a win. If its head high and steep then you can expect some huge punts from the diminutive Aussie that can take him through to the final rounds. He needs to want it though.

Kerr can do more than just blast airs. Laying it on rail at the Quik Pro 2011.

(Author’s Pick) Jordy Smith – Jordy had a horrible South Pacific leg of the tour that saw the big Saffa getting a 13th at Fiji and a 25th at Teahupo’o. Not good results if you want to be in a title race. He was quoted saying “I’m back” after his quarterfinal finish last week at the Hurley Pro. Jordy didn’t like his brief period of failure earlier in the year so you can count on him slamming sections with authority and boosting big airs.

Jordy is my pick to win the Quik Pro France. At this point in the year, Jordy is fired up to replace his poor finishes at Fiji and Tahiti. Look for the biggest guy on tour to flex his muscles at this year's Quik Pro France.

Check out some pre-event videos from the Quiksilver Pro France 2012
Official Teaser

Caught Inside Episode 1

Caught Inside Episode 2

The waiting period for the Quik Pro France starts tomorrow and ends on October 8th. After the first day of competition things will slow down a bit and there will  be undoubtedly a few lay days as the world’s best wait for swell. Watch the live webcast at 7:30 am (French time) at quiksilverpro.com



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