Quik Pro France set to start tonight

We should all take a moment to thank Napoleon Bonaparte for making this all possible. In the early 19th century he diverted the Ardour River 20 miles south of its normal outpour at Hossegor to create the Port of Bayonne, purely for military purposes. In doing this, he unknowingly created some of the best beachbreak sand banks on earth. By diverting the river, a huge trench formed in the Bay of Biscay, funneling powerful Atlantic swell into Hossegor. This happy accident has worked out really well for our baguette wielding friends across the pond.

For those of us in the good ole U. S. of A, stop 6 of the dream tour, the Quik Pro France, looks to get underway at 11 pm west coast time (8 am in France) tonight. The forecast is looking fantastic with reports of good sand banks in the hossegor area, and several large swells lining up. The heat draws have been finalized and there are quite a few interesting stories developing.

Firstly, the title race has been hijacked by some guy named Kelly Slater(?), I guess he surfs ok. Jordy Smith surrendered the world number 1 ranking to Kelly at Trestles last week, losing to Bede Durbidge in the quarterfinals while Slater took the event win, 20 years after his maiden win as a pro at the same wave. Kelly holds a 4500 point lead at the moment, with Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, and Dane Reynolds joining Jordy in chasing down Slater. Remember that last year at this time, Fanning began his unprecedented comeback campaign to overtake Joel Parkinson for the world title.

In injury news, Joel Parkinson is still out with his a horrendous fin chop to the foot. Reportedly Parko is walking again, but not back in the water just yet. He should be healthy in time for the Triple Crown in Hawaii at the end of the year. Dusty Payne tweaked his knee in his round 5 heat at trestles. According to the latest twittering:
“Up at 5:00 am in France. Loving the jet lag right now. Gonna test the knee today. Hopefully it works.” He is in heat 11 of round 1 against Freddy P and Damo Hobgood.

Check out the contest live here

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Luke Stedman (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Maxime Huscenot (REU)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Andy Irons (HAW), Bobby Martinez (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)