Quiksilver Pro France Waiting Period Begins Friday, Setp. 23. Links And Photos Here.

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE (23 September — 2 October)

EVENT #9 ON THE FOSTER’S ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) MEN’S WORLD TOUR

Live on www.quiksilver.com and www.aspworldtour.com

All Signs Point To Another Epic Quiksilver Pro France

With small but extremely fun and hollow two to three foot (one metre) waves hitting the beach breaks at La Graviere, Hossegor, organisers of the Quiksilver Pro France presented by Samsung are hoping to begin round one tomorrow.

The event, the ninth on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, is much anticipated as the final placings will have a direct bearing on the 2005 title race. In fact, if Kelly Slater (USA) takes another win here his lead will be unassailable and he will travel to the next event with an unprecedented seventh world crown.

While the remaining 47 competitors will be out to prevent Slater having an easy run, no-one will have more vengeance than three-time and reigning world champ, Andy Irons (HAW) as he could still retain his title by winning the next three events.

And while it seems an improbability based on Slater’s recent form, Irons has come from behind before to win and certainly won’t throw in the towel just yet, especially as he has had wins both here in France and at Pipeline Hawaii (where the final event of the tour will take place) and he has had solid results in Brazil (which follows France).

“There’s a long shot and I’m going to be trying my hardest to take it, said Irons today at the event press conference held at the Quiksilver Superstore at Anglet. “The mental preparation is pretty tough as Kelly has had an amazing year and rarely has he made a mistake. But my fitness is good, my equipment is good and the forecast is good so I’ll go out with a positive attitude and will enjoy whatever result I get.

Slater, meanwhile, appeared laidback and joked about his preparation for this event, indicating that if the size of the swell rises to the same size as last year he may be “under-gunned (where a surfer’s board is too short for the conditions).

“I’m not exactly sure how prepared I am, he said. “If it gets to three metres (10 foot) plus I don’t have any boards. But if it does get big then I’ll find a board! (laughs) I’ve had the one board I’ve ridden at the last three events and I’m hoping the waves are at a similar size to the last events so I can get to ride it.

Mathematically Australian chargers Mick Fanning, Trent Munro and Phil MacDonald can win but only if any one of them wins the remaining three events with Slater and Irons being eliminated in the early rounds.

Regarding the swell outlook, Contest Director Rod Brooks was hopeful that by the weekend the swell will increase and yet again the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, now dubbed the “Dream Tour, will score conditions of epic proportions.

“We’ve been looking forward to this event all year, especially since the last two years here at the Quiksilver Pro France have been so good. At this stage we’ll be making a call at 8am local time tomorrow (Friday) as it looks like we are going to have suitable conditions all week. The swell is going to increase and stay around for the next few days. We do, however, face difficulties with tides (as high tide is in the morning and it prevents the waves from breaking properly) as well as the onshore wind coming in the early afternoon. This will mean that optimum conditions will only be around for a short period throughout the day. We’ve had great surf for the last three events on tour and hopefully the luck will continue here.

The event window opens tomorrow and runs through till Sunday 2 October. The event can be completed in a total of four days but will wait for optimum conditions before hitting the water.

It’s going to be a battle royale. Tune into the live webcast of the Quiksilver Pro France, presented by Samsung with Evian, at quiksilver.com and aspworldtour.com< The broadcast will be in four languages — English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.