At Lowers, I shot for countless hours watching each and every surfer prepare for the Hurley Pro. I saw guys struggling and I saw guys murdering. And when it came down to it, a mix of both did well in Hurley Pro. Julian and Jordy carried those good looking freesurfs to 2nd and 3rd place finishes. Taj, who was on a major shocker (by his standards), climbed out of his pre-comp slump for his best in a long line of good results at Trestles.
Lesson learned: You just can’t predict some of these damn events. Things change every round.
France has such a wild range of surf conditions so I’ve got to rely on the most consistent bet in surfing history: Kelly. Over the past 5 years in France he’s placed 1st, 5th, 2nd, 5th, and 2nd. After one of his worst results ever at Lowers, I know he’s pissed off. And you do not want to piss Kelly Slater off — trust me; it’s not a good feeling. I saw his reaction from an up-close perspective when Patty G took him down, and I know better than to not have him on this roster.
He’s been making waves his bitch this year like no one else. Everything’s working for Jordy and he’s finally in the title chase, where he belongs. I’ve never been a fan of serious claims in surfing. You know, those begging, pathetic-looking ones. Claims suck unless they are in good fun. And Jordy has some of the most fun claims I’ve ever seen (besides Mark Holder from Barbados, who is on a totally different level). Please bust out some new claims in France for us Jordy!
In my opinion, no one surfs heats like they’re freesurfing more than Julian. He has a tendency to go on 30-minute rampages and stomp multiple crazy airs in one heat. Bali and Lowers were great examples of this. Give the guy a short period swell and some beach break ramps and it won’t end well for the other colored singlet.
John John Florence
If there is any wave that doesn’t suit John’s style, it’s Lowers. If there’s another wave that doesn’t, I don’t know of it. France clearly fits him perfectly in any condition. He’s a wave magnet, tube magician and an aerial master.
John hasn’t been able to take down the top dogs on a consistent basis yet but it’s only a matter of time before he does. Superior ability and a steady head on his shoulders will eventually prevail. His only win on tour thus far has been at a beach break. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he got #2 here.
I’ve been pretty hard on Medina for a while, but it’s easy to forget how young he still is. Gabs showed signs of improvement as an adult when he tweeted congratulations to CJ Hobgood after their heat and wished him luck in the rest of the event.
Then he showed up for the SURFING/Hurley Pro party at Molly Blooms and had a good time with everyone. I even throat-jabbed him at one point and he didn’t get any Brazilian UFC guys to kick my ass. I’m now starting to like him, and it comes in good timing for the Quik Pro France. You just can’t deny this kid, especially when Slater is touting him.
I’m riding this train till it derails. You kidding me? It’s time to Gudang-bang Europe folks! Lowers, France then Portugal! I’ll be up at the crack of midnight to watch Patty G keep his roll going.
There’s always someone super random that goes far here. I have no real reason to believe it’ll be Tiago, but it might just happen. He’s been injured for some time now, but part of me thinks he’s just been waiting for the injury wildcard and has spent months secretly prepping for the Euro leg. This is my YOLO pick of the event.
Update: Tiago must be very injured because he’s withdrawn. I’m instead gonna take a chance on Yadin Nicol. Yadin has proven time after time in videos with Joe G and Kai Neville that he could be a threat out here. Such a good tube rider and although his air make/fall ratio might not be the same as Julian or Filipe, he can loft em just as high.
After not scoring anything over a 6 in an hour of surfing during the best day of waves at Lowers, I’ll admit, it’s kind of hard to believe in him at the moment. Talks of Dane being “over the hill” have been debated at beachfront parking lots everywhere this week. Injuries and lack of physical conditioning have definitely taken a toll on the most naturally talented surfer to ever walk this earth, but I know he still has some left in the tank.
I appreciate Dane’s creativity and interest in doing rad shit like making a film on his buddy Craig Anderson, but I think I speak for the majority of surf fans when I say I’d like to see more of Dane surfing and less of him editing movies of other people. Only one year ago he was on the verge of winning his 1st ever WCT against competitive nemesis Kelly Slater. You’d have to be soulless to not want to see Dane win at least one of these things. With limited opportunities on the horizon, let’s hope it’s the Quik Pro France. If Dane wins, we all win. Let’s go Reynolds!
Who not to pick:
I’m over this section for now. It’s too negative and unlike certain places on tour, anyone has a legitimate chance to get on a run in France. I did notice Adriano de Souza has gotten last place the past four years. That’s not a great sign, but maybe he’s due to break out?
People I’ll be rooting for:
-Both Hobgoods (especially Damo)
-Simpo (Surfs HB on the reg so France will seem epic even when it’s bad)
-Freddy P (I always root for this legendary human)
-Nat (My boy! Go Nat!)
-Kolohe (Underrated personality in the sport. This kid is way more awesome than you might know)