Bonjourno. It's late September, the fleeting breaths of summer are fading, and the ASP World Tour is soon kicking off it's European leg—this year one contest longer with the Rip Curl Search based in Portugal ensuring throaty Atlantic barrels and topless foreign women will provide the backdrop for the ASP World Tour's next month.
Following Mick Fanning's calculated victory of the heftiest prize purse in surfing history, fall now belongs to a world title race. Or maybe there was one all along and it just took a few months to expose itself.
Either way, the European leg of the 2009 World Tour will keep everyone on their toes. These next three contests pack the entire top 45 together on and around the Iberian Peninsula—wine consumption, weird foreign raves, and the art of the 'look but don't stare.'
This is who we've got on our Fantasy Surf League teams, and ultimately how we see things playing out with the 2009 Quiksilver Pro in France. And you know we're always right…
The Quik Pro holding period kicks off this Wednesday, September 23rd and it seems there should be a tad bit of swell for them right off the bat.
You catch the entire event live on quiksilverlive.com/profrance09.
And be sure to stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for the full wrap-ups with all the news, videos, and photos from France.
Who do you see winning? Will Mick carry over his scalpel and go to work in France? Will Parko bounce back? And what of Kelly, Dane, and the rest of the top finishers at Lowers packing a bit of momentum in their baggage? And who do you have on your Fantasy Action Sports League team?
Winner: Dane is on a bit of a roll with a 3rd at Jbay and now a 2nd at Lowers, and with all due respect to the rest of the Tour—he's the guy everybody wants to see win. With the title race heating up a bit, it will be cool to see Joel, Mick, and Kelly go far in the event—but then again, France always seems to hold surprises for everybody.
Best Rookie Performance: Nathaniel and Kekoa seem to be the only rookie's making a mark, so I'll go with one of them.
Shocker: I wish someone would do something interesting like surf a heat naked or get into a fistfight on the beach.
Winner: If it's thumping at La Graviere, Parko will do just what he did at the Quik Pro earlier this year and score some mind-bending barrels for the win. If it's mushy like last year, C.J. Hobgood will be up on the podium.
Best Rookie Performance: The hype has died down on Michel Bourez, but he's done big things in France before as a wildcard and will do it again as a World Tour rookie.
Shocker: As much as I don't want this to happen, I have a feeling that if the waves aren't good, Kelly Slater will lose early and exit the Tour—at least for this year.
Winner: I know, I know, Kelly…punchy beachbreak, Quiksilver event, won before…blah, blah, blah…Sorry, but I like Mick's focus and he's gonna back up his Trestles win because he always seems to go really strong in Europe.
Best Rookie Performance: Kekoa, this type of wave really fits his stature and attack…no jokes please.
Shocker: Please don't kill me, but I'm going out on a limb and saying this is gonna be a tough event for Parko…post injury and all.
Winner: I’m thinking Mick Fanning. He’s got some momentum after his win at Lowers and is getting a sniff of the World Title.
Best Rookie Performance: Michel Bourez is comfortable in France and has taken out Slater there before…go Bourez!
Shocker: Wildcard Julian Wilson is gonna take out Slater.
Winner: Joel Parkinson is extremely hungry and knows he needs to post a solid result to keep his title hopes alive. Will come out swinging!
Best Rookie Performance: Kekoa Bacalso has the savvy and power to dominate in the beach break, whether it be huge tubes or monster hacks.
Shocker: Hate to say it and hope I’m wrong but Dane Reynolds. Sadly, the judges won’t know how to handle him and therefore will get underscored and lose early…what a tragedy.
Winner: Mick and Dane final again? Maybe. Kelly is always deadly in perfect dredging beachies or windy mush and he's now sixth in the ratings. Like I said for Trestles, the World Title race is far from over.
Best Rookie Performance: Mick Fanning returned the favor to Michel Bourez at Lowers after their J-Bay tussle. Bourez is really coming into his own now and will continue to flourish. And if it's hollow, don't forget about Oxnardian barrel bred Nathaniel Curran.
Shocker: Tim Boal is at home and will channel his 2008 WQS self and put up his best result this year.
Winner: One of the Hobgoods sneaks in for the win after dealing with a bunch of awkward shorebreak wipeouts. I’ll say Damien.
Best Rookie Performance: Marlon Lipke finally feels comfortable because he’s back in Europe, and he gets a good result.
Shocker: Fanning, De Souza, and Damien Hobgood gain some more ground on World Tour points leader Parkinson.