The worldâ€™s best surfers have arrived in the Southwest of France for the next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), theÂ QuiksilverÂ andÂ Roxy ProÂ France, which holds a competitive window of October 4 – 15, 2016.
John John Florence (HAW)Â sits atop the menâ€™s Jeep Leaderboard and a good result in France will see him extend his lead heading into the final two events of the season. Florence will faceÂ Conner Coffin (USA)Â and event wildcardÂ Joan Duru (FRA)Â in Round 1.
â€œThis is a super exciting time, there areÂ just three events left and theyâ€™ll be so much fun,â€ said Florence. â€œItâ€™s such an amazing place here and my ultimate goal is to win here in France. I just want to do the best I can. On the world title side of things, Iâ€™m trying not to think about it too much because I donâ€™t want to put pressure on myself. Iâ€™m just having fun and, whatever happens, itâ€™s been an amazing year.â€
Gabriel Medina (BRA)Â is just 4,200 points behind Florence and another victory for the two-time defending event winner would give him the chance to leapfrog Florence on the leaderboard. Medina will take onÂ Dusty Payne (HAW)Â and 2016 WSL RookieÂ Ryan Callinan (AUS)Â in Round 1 Heat 5.
â€œI love France so much and I love these kind of waves,â€ Medina said. â€œItâ€™s so fun here — you can go right, go left, get barreled and do airs. There are a lot of opportunities so itâ€™s exciting. The year is about to finish so Iâ€™m looking for a good result. Iâ€™m just surfing heat-by-heat, no pressure and trying to enjoy myself.â€
Jeremy Flores (FRA)Â will face AustraliansÂ Adrian Buchan (AUS)Â andÂ Stuart Kennedy (AUS)Â in Round 1 Heat 7. With requalification on the line, Flores will battle for his first Round 4 berth of the 2016 season and to improve his ranking on the Jeep Leaderboard.
â€œItâ€™s always good to be here, this is like my home,â€ Flores said. â€œItâ€™s the best time of year — the waves are sick! I have great support from everyone in France and that definitely motivates me.â€
On the womenâ€™s side,Â Tyler Wright (AUS)Â comes into the event as Jeep Rankings Leader and defending event champion. With four Championship Tour wins under her belt this season, a win in France will see Wright claim her maiden WSL Title. Wright can only win in the following scenarios:
–Â If Wright wins the event
– If Wright finishes 2nd and Courtney Conlogue (USA) finishes no higher than 3rd
– If Wright finishes 3rd and Conlogue finishes no higher than 2nd
– If Wright finishes 5th and Conlogue finishes no higher than 3rd
– If Wright finishes 9th and Conlogue finishes no higher than 5th
– If Wright finishes 13th and Conlogue finishes no higher than 13th
Wright will surf againstÂ Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)Â and 2016 WSL RookieÂ Chelsea Tuach (BRB)Â in Round 1 Heat 3 of the Roxy Pro France.
Courtney Conlogue (USA)Â currently sits at World No. 2, trailing only 5,250 points behind Wright. Conlogue, who has consistently challenged Wright throughout the season, has another opportunity to block the Australianâ€™s World Title win in France. Conlogue comes into this event after an incredible victory at the Cascais Womenâ€™s Pro and will battle to prolong the World Title race to Maui. Conlogue will be againstÂ Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)Â and event wildcardÂ Bronte Macaulay (AUS)Â in Round 1.
â€œFrance is like a dream if you like beachbreaks,â€ said Conlogue. â€œThere are so many variables here, but once you find an amazing bank it can be perfection and youâ€™ll have one of your dream surfs. I love finding barrels and if I can see an exit Iâ€™ll try and get inside. Iâ€™m really looking forward to this event and hopefully we get some swell. Weâ€™re going into the last two events and Iâ€™m just looking to have fun. I have nothing to lose right now and everything to gain, and Iâ€™m having a blast.â€
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time WSL Womenâ€™s Champion, will return to competition after an absence from the Cascais Womenâ€™s Pro due to illness. Despite her withdrawal from Portugal, the Australian currently sits sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard after a stunning runner-up finish at the Swatch Womenâ€™s Pro. Gilmore has three previous CT event wins in France and will compete for another strong finish in the second to last event of the season. The final heat of Round 4 will see Gilmore up againstÂ Malia Manuel (HAW)Â andÂ Coco Ho (HAW).
â€œThe Southwest of France is one of the most beautiful areas in the world,â€ said Gilmore. â€œTheyâ€™ve got beautiful waves, beautiful beaches and itâ€™s a wonderful place to be. Iâ€™m feeling good and everything’s all better now. Iâ€™m ready to put on show here in France. The world title race this year is insane. To see Courtney [Conlogue]Â step up in in Portugal was insane. To have all of that pressure and then win — that proved to me that Courtney has what it takes to be World Champion and fight it out all the way to the end. Tyler [Wright]Â is still really strong and Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™ll come back here in France. Itâ€™s really exciting that we could see the title go down here in France!â€
Taj Burrow (AUS)Â surfed his last Championship Tour event during June’s Fiji Pro. His position on the 2016 WSL Top 34 has been taken byÂ Adam Melling (AUS).Â Owen Wright (AUS)Â andÂ Bede Durbidge (AUS)Â remain out with injury and have been replaced byÂ Stuart Kennedy (AUS)Â andÂ Sebastian Zietz (HAW).Â Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion, continues his personal year in 2016 and has elected not to surf France this season. He has been replaced byÂ Dusty Payne (HAW).
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)Â andÂ Joan Duru (FRA)Â have been named the two wildcards into Quiksilver Pro.Â Bronte Macaulay (AUS)Â is the event wildcard for the Roxy Pro.
Event organizers will convene at 8 a.m. local time tomorrow morning to assess conditions and make the first call.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, are calling for:
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.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be webcast LIVE onÂ WorldSurfLeague.comÂ as well as the WSL app.
The event is also being carried by the WSL’s LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat in Brazil, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV in Portugal, Canal + Deportes in Spain, Channel Nine, MCS France, Starhub in Singapore, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.
Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1:Â Joel Parkinson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 2:Â Kelly Slater (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 3:Â Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jadson Andre (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 4:Â Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 5:Â Gabriel Medina (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6:Â John John Florence (HAW), Conner Coffin (USA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 7:Â Adrian Buchan (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8:Â Italo Ferreira (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 9:Â Julian Wilson (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10:Â Kolohe Andino (USA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 11:Â Filipe Toledo (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 12:Â Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)
Roxy Pro France Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 2:Â Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Sage Erickson (AUS), Lakey Peterson (AUS)
Heat 3:Â Tyler Wright (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Chelsea Tuach (BRB)
Heat 4:Â Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 5:Â Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 6:Â Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW)