Summer in France, at least right now anyway, is just too nice. After a stifling season of heat, smog and humidity in California, its ridiculously pleasant to be in the Old World where everything feels so much more evolved. Here the wine is fine, the women have realized long ago that the bikini top is completely unnecessary, the sand bars are finely tuned, and the water and air are a perfect 75 degrees. Oh, yeah, and it stays dark till 10pm so you can surf, five, six times in a day.
So basically, the worlds best Under 16 surfers here at the Quiksilver King of the Groms have everything going for them and they’re loving it. Instead of the usual 2 foot summer contest slop they’re used to, they’re slicing up 4-5 foot down the line jetty rights at Capbreton, which Billy Hopkins of Huntington Beach pronounced to be just like Snapper. “Well I havent actually surfed Snapper yet,” he admitted. “But I imagine its similar.”
Then there’s the format, which is identical to a WCT, and anyone who’s witnessed or participated in the nightmare of 6 man 15-minute heats at NSSA Nationals will attest that doing it this way (one round of non-elimination 3 man heats followed by man-man sudden-death rounds the rest of the way) is WAY BETTER.
The point is, the groms are stoked and they’re ripping. Aussie Dean Bowen put it best, “It’s a hard contest because theres so many good surfers here,” he said. “I’m really enjoying myself though. I love France I love the food and the girls.”
There it is talent on the beach and talent in the water. In this comp you’ll find kids you might not know, but will soon, such as, Shaun Joubert of South Africa, Medi Veminardi of Reunion Island and Tamaroa McComb of Tahiti, who’ve all posted total heat scores over 18 (out of 20). Then there’s the ones you’ve heard of, like Jon-Jon Florence and Kolohe Andino, and will be getting to know a lot better in the future, who are killing it too.
This week these guys will battle it out and on Sunday the king will claim a pretty sweet crown an all expenses paid trip back here next month to surf the Trials of the Quiksilver Pro France just up the beach at Hossegor, and another excursion next March to the real Snapper for the Trials of the Quiksilver Pro Australia.