HOSSEGOR, France (Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008) The waiting period for the Quiksilver Pro France, the seventh of 11 events on the 2008 ASP World Tour, will commence on Friday, September 19, 2008 and stretch until Sunday, September 28, 2008.
For the first time in the history of the ASP, four of the full-time Top 45 surfers competing in the event are European prior to 2008, having two Europeans on tour was a record. Frenchmen Jeremy Flores and Miky Picon along with Portugal's Tiago Pires and Spanish Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu are all eager to impress in Europe in coming weeks.
Both Flores and Pires have already flared in 2008. Flores, who was ASP Rookie of the Year, sits in the Top 10 and Pires is the only surfer on the ASP World Tour who has beaten current world No. 1 Kelly Slater (USA) this year. Pires eliminated Slater from the Search event held in Indonesia in August.
Flores, who at present will face Ben Dunn (AUS) and Leonardo Neves (BRA) in the first heat of the event, overcame recent ankle surgery to make the semifinals of last week's ASP World Tour event in California. While he would love to go one better and feature in the Quiksilver Pro France final at home, Flores is not getting ahead of himself.
"My result at Trestles is good momentum for France," Flores said. "But last year I did good in California, went to France wanting to do better and I had the worst result of the year. This year I'm going to have a different approach. I'm going to try and be more relaxed and not put too much pressure on myself."
Swellnet forecaster Ben Matson is confident for a start to the Quiksilver Pro on Saturday, though conditions will be assessed on Friday as well.
"A series of low pressure systems between Greenland and Iceland this week have generated a new northwest swell that's expected to arrive on Friday afternoon, peaking around 1.5m on Saturday with clean conditions under a moderate offshore breeze," Matson said.
The main contest site is situated at La Graviere in Hossegor but the event can go mobile to capitalize on the best conditions on offer in the area. Joan Duru (FRA) and Michel Bourez (PYF) have been given wildcard slots into the Quiksilver Pro. Notably, Bourez beat Slater Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro last year to pave the way for reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) to win the French event and ultimately, his first ASP World Title. A trials event deciding the third wildcard will be held on Thursday morning.
Leonardo Neves (BRA) and Dean Morrison (AUS) have pulled out of the Quiksilver Pro citing injuries. ASP Replacement Nic Muscroft (AUS) has accepted one spot and the other vacancy has yet to be confirmed. A more complete draw will be distributed once the other replacement surfer and wildcard have been named.
Tentative Quiksilver Pro France Heat Draw:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 4: Andy Irons (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), 0
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Chris Ward (USA), 0
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), 0
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), 0
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW), Heitor Alves (BRA), Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 13: Luke Stedman (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)
ASP World Tour Ratings Heading into the Quiksilver Pro France
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 6820 points
2. Taj Burrow (AUS) 5402 points
3. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5258 points
4. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5148 points
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 5085 points
6. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4550 points
7. Bobby Martinez (USA) 4360 points
8. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4280 points
9. Andy Irons (HAW) 4163 points
10. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 3997 points