Big Wave Surfer Matt Bromley Is On A Mission

Donkey Bay – Cape Town big wave surfer Matt Bromley recently had an epic trip to Donkey Bay in Namibia, and scored some epic waves at this elusive, world-class destination. The waves weren’t as big or as heavy as first expected, but there were still some insane waves to be had.

“I met up with Keahi de Aboitiz and my regular South African Donkey Bay crew, staring down what looked like three days of pumping Skeleton Bay,” said Monster Energy team member Bromley. It didn’t quite turn out as planned, but in life things seldom do.

“The first day arrived and it was dead flat,” recalls Bromley. “It was only the following morning when we awoke to perfect drainers. We surfed from 7am until 6pm. We all got a few pretty sick ones and it was amazing to be back in the desert again!”

Bromley’s goal for the next year however, is to chase down the biggest paddle barrel in the world, for his upcoming film, ‘Over The Edge.’

“I’m really pumped to show everyone what we’ve got in the bag so far,” said Bromley. “So far it includes the biggest Nias ever surfed, Teahupoo and Dungeons, and we are still hoping to score Shipsterns, Jaws and Mullaghmore. It’s all about chasing the biggest paddle barrel in the world. We are hoping launch early to mid 2020.”

Donkey perfection © Van Gysen

Bromley has had quite an exciting year so far.

“My biggest achievement this year personally was probably the release of my two short films –

“Global Slab Hunter” https://youtu.be/6cWeuvxgf9k and “Geographical Rarity” https://youtu.be/LOOVEMskjYY ,

– which documented big barrels around the globe and emotions and views from my dad and closest mates, as well as some major swells we scored at Sunset and dungeons last year,” said Bromley. “I also paddled into the tallest wave I’ve ever paddled out at Sunset in Cape Town.”

Follow Matt’s adventures over the next year on Instagram – @bromdog7

Distributed by – The Truth Collective – craig@truthcollective.co.za

Semifinalists Set at the Roxy Pro France

Pictured: World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW) put on a dominant performance at La Nord. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

SEIGNOSSE / HOSSEGOR / CAPBRETON, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Tuesday, October 8, 2019) – The Roxy Pro France resumed yesterday and completed the Quarterfinals in excellent, six foot plus waves on the outside peak of La Nord to decide the last four surfers in contention for the prestigious French event title.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, stop No. 8 and 9 on the women and men’s 2019 World Surf League (WSL) CT respectively, have been graced with excellent conditions since the first day of the event waiting period, showing everything France has to offer with playful peaks on the first day at Culs Nus, heavy barrels at La Graviere and long open walls today at La Nord.

Lakey Peterson (USA) and Malia Manuel (HAW) took it to the lineup in the opening Quarterfinal of the Roxy Pro France, and rode the long rights on their forehand. They both attacked the sections in a similar fashion but the difference was made by wave choice as Manuel’s were slightly softer and mostly allowed cutback maneuvers. On the other hand, current No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard Peterson connected with the lip a few times on her way to a solid 12.60 total for her spot into Semifinal 1.

“I rode that same board at Bells, it’s a little bit similar out there,” said Peterson. “There’s more water than you think, the wave face may not be that big but there’s a lot of water moving so it felt nice to be on a bigger board and do bigger turns. I was really nervous this whole heat, Malia only ever needed a 6 and she’s very capable in those waves. I’m really stoked to be in the semis and to get Carissa it should be fun!”

In the second Quarter, World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW) came firing out of the gates with a three-turn combination and a clinic of surfing on the rail to open her account with an excellent 8.67. The Hawaiian completed her scoring board with a powerful display on a single closeout turn and never really gave opponent Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) any room, eliminating her in 5th place. 

“I guess it does have a little bit of a Sunset air cause you’re pretty far out there,” said Moore. “But nothing really compares, this is a beach break and the lineup is constantly moving, it’s so unique and special. It’s rare to see the number 1 and 2 match up before the Final and it should be fun. Lakey’s been surfing so well and I’m excited to have a match up with her.”

Pictured: Johanne Defay (FRA) posted the day’s biggest score with a 9.40. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

After posting a 9.00 point ride for a deep barrel yesterday at La Graviere, Johanne Defay (FRA) confirmed her repertoire includes every move in the book as she dismantled a big righthander of La Nord with two massive turns for a near-perfect 9.40. The Reunion Island surfer attacked the almost double-overhead set just like it was a 3 foot wave and showed no mercy for World No. 3 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) as she eliminated the Australian World Title contender in equal 5th place.

After a somewhat slow start to her 2019 campaign, Defay started to turn her season around with a Quarterfinal in J-Bay this summer, before posting an impressive runner-up result at the Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, and is guaranteed another big finish in France this week.

“I had a great time out there,” said Defay. “I was a bit sceptical when they sent us out at La Nord on the incoming tide but with 50mn heats we really had time to find the right waves and I got that very nice one with the 9. That wave just had a great wall and I didn’t need a huge score so I focused on the first turn and gave it everything. Then I saw I actually had time to hit it a second time and I was stoked to land that re-entry at the end.”

In the final heat of the day, Caroline Marks (USA) upset yesterday’ standout Courtney Conlogue (USA). Marks’ lethal backhand proved efficient on the Gold Coast, at Bells Beach and J-Bay and once again looked flawless on the big rights of La Nord, as she posted an impressive 8.17 on two solid hacks to take out the final slot in the Semis.

“I free surfed out there this morning but it double in size and I was on a completely different board in my heat,” said Marks. “It was super fun out there and we had nice, long heats so it was awesome to surf it out and get a bunch of opportunities. Courtney’s been on fire and she doesn’t have a weakness, she beat me at the US Open and that one really stung.”

Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) have qualified through the WSL CT for selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Following their results at the Roxy Pro and Quiksilver Pro France, Fitzgibbons and Gilmore are guaranteed to finish as the top two Australian women and Smith is confirmed to finish in the Top 10 on the WSL Rankings and each have earned their provisional place to compete in Tokyo.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020 and the 2019 WSL CT, the elite year-long tour that crowns the World Champions each season, will be an important qualification pathway for the world’s best surfers. 

Following the final CT events of 2019 (the Hawaii Pro from November 25 to December 6, 2019 and the Billabong Pipe Masters from December 8 to 20, 2019), the WSL rankings will determine the first 18 eligible Olympic qualifiers (10 men and 8 women), subject to all qualified surfers meeting the ISA’s and IOC’s eligibility requirements and being selected by their respective National Olympic Committee.

There is a maximum of two men and two women for each country that can qualify for the 2020 Games so this year’s CT sees surfers not only battle for the World Title and requalification for the tour but also to finish as one of the top two ranked surfers from their nation.

The remaining 22 places are being determined through the 2019 and 2020 ISA World Surfing Games, the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, and a single slot (each for men and women) for the host nation, Japan.

Competition was called off for the rest of the day after the fourth Quarterfinal and the next call will be on Thursday, October 10 as conditions are expected to be bad with strong onshore winds today.

Courtney Conlogue Finds Perfection at Roxy Pro France

Pictured: Courtney Conlogue (USA) posted a near-perfect heat with 18.93 out of 20 possible. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

SEIGNOSSE / HOSSEGOR / CAPBRETON, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Monday, October 7, 2019) – The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France continued today in excellent four-to-six foot surf at La Graviere to run through the third rounds of competition in both the men and women’s fields. Competitors took on the hollow peaks of one of the world’s premiere beach breaks for tubes and put on impressive performances for the large crowds once again assembled on the stretch of sand.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, stop No. 8 and 9 on the women and men’s 2019 World Surf League (WSL) CT respectively, have already witnessed their fair share of upsetting results in the context of the 2019 World Title races. Conditions favored the bold, as big sections were rewarded and a little bit of luck in positioning went a long way.

The world’s best female surfers took on the shifty peaks of La Graviere following the completion of the men’s round and the title race contenders showed their superiority in the tricky surf.

After shocking the world with one of, if not the deepest barrel ever made at the Surf Ranch a few weeks ago, French surfer Johanne Defay reiterated the feat this time on a Hossegor bomb. The Reunion Island surfer completely disappeared from view on a frothy right, rode the foam ball and exited cleanly to post an incredible 9 point ride. She quickly backed it up with a solid 7.00 on backhand turns to eliminate Brisa Hennessy (HAW) and move into the Quarters.

“I’m so stoked it was super tricky out there and it’s definitely the best barrel I’ve gotten at La Graviere,” said Defay. “It’s awesome to do it in these conditions and I guess I got some good practice at the Ranch! I feel really supported and I love the crowds here, but I have my little place away from the beach and I’m able to get some good rest so it’s perfect.”

Courtney Conlogue Finds Perfection in France
https://www.worldsurfleague.com/posts/424169/perfect-10-conlogue-dominates-la-grav 

When everyone thought Defay pushed the limits of barrel riding in her heat, the defending event winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) decided the bar could be raised a touch higher. In the opening minute of her heat against Roxy wildcard Vahine Fierro (PYF), the Californian locked into a bigger, cleaner wave on her backhand and rode a long and technical tube, exiting right before the shutdown for the first perfect 10 point ride of the event.

Conditions continued to fire as the sun started to set on a picture-perfect La Graviere lineup, and Conlogue found another incredible wave, pulled into another big barrel on her forehand this time to post an excellent 8.93 and definitely burry Fierro’s last hopes of a comeback.

“I love barrels,” said Conlogue. “I think it was 30 seconds in when I saw that wave and I got so excited, I was like ‘keep cool, just keep cool’. It was such a fun heat, I got the lineup to myself and waves were so much fun. Quarterfinals is a new start but honestly I just want to keep getting barreled.”

The current Jeep Yellow Jersey Carissa Moore (HAW) found a rare two-maneuver wave on her backhand to post a solid 7 point ride and take a win over compatriot Coco Ho (HAW), moving into the Quarterfinals. In 8 years participating in the Roxy Pro France, Moore has never been stopped before the Semifinals and she’ll be a favorite for the win when the event resumes.

“It’s pretty tough to get scores out there so I just went for waves hoping they’d open up,” said Moore. “Every heat is so important, I’m just trying to surf and enjoy myself. Everything is really close and I’m just grateful to be in this position, it’s been a few years. Being out of the title race for a few years has really given me perspective and I’m just super thankful.”

World No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA) scored her best two rides with single, backhand maneuvers in the thick lips of La Graviere to eliminate Silvana Lima (BRA) in equal 9th place. The lone surfer with two wins to her name this season, Peterson is a former runner-up in France and she’ll need another big result this season to stay in contention heading into the final two events of 2019.

“It’s so hard and right on the shore so two turns would get an excellent score,” said Peterson. “This type of conditions level the playing field so much, you have to compete really smart, it’s tricky and adds some stress for sure. I’m pretty stoked on how I performed, in the past I think that’s the kind of heat where I could have crumbled but I felt pretty focused. I’m definitely more calm and relaxed that I was in the same situation here last year. I feel like I’ve put all the hard work in and I just want to have fun and rise to the occasion.”

French Wildcard Lacomare Posts Day’s Upset as La Graviere Fires

French Wildcard Lacomare Posts Day’s Upset as La Graviere Fires – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

Quiksilver wildcard Marc Lacomare (FRA) posted the day’s upset as he eliminated the current World No. 2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) in their Round of 32 matchup this morning. The Hossegor local found the tubes in a lineup he knows perfectly and built a healthy 12.83 total while Toledo struggled to identify the right opportunities. The Brazilian answered with a deep and technical barrel ride for a 7.10, the highest single score of the heat.

Left chasing an average number, Toledo went to the air but came up just short and Lacomare added another scalp to his list on home turf. When given the same opportunity in 2017, the Frenchman eliminated Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) on his way to an incredible 5th place finish in Hossegor. 

“I just focused on trying to catch the good waves and it was much tougher than I originally thought,” said Lacomare. “I really only got two in 45 minutes but fortunately I made them count. It’s really emotional to compete here at home in front of so many friends and family, and it’s nice to surf in good waves.”

Slightly diminished by a back injury sustained at the recent Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, Toledo will have to settle for a second, equal 17th place result in France, and will need to make his last two events of the 2019 Championship Tour count for a shot at a first World Title.

“I did everything I could on that last wave but unfortunately that wave was really short,” said Toledo. “Congrats to Marc, he started the heat really well and that made all the difference in the end. I was really confident out there thinking one wave would come my way, so I waited but it was just not my day.”

Medina Finds Resources to Keep Impeccable French Track Record

Pictured: In a barrel-plagued heat, Medina went to air and turns for the win. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

A few heats later, reigning 2X WSL Champion and current Jeep Frontrunner Gabriel Medina (BRA) scrapped through a low scoring affair against young wildcard Marco Mignot (FRA) to keep his France impeccable track record unscathed. Mignot had the better start and had Medina against the ropes for the vast majority of their 46 minutes battle, but the Brasilian managed to come back in the dying moments of the heat and eliminated Mignot in equal 17th.

“I tried to get my waves but it was a challenge,” said Medina. “I’m stoked to make it through and just hope conditions get easier from now. I feel like I haven’t really surfed yet although I’ve taken so many waves in these first two heats.”

Portugal’s Frederico Morais found the first gem of the morning, locking into a bomb in the first heat to post a 9.17 out of 10. Unfortunately that wave came late in the heat for Morais, whereas World No. 3 Jordy Smith (ZAF) had built a strong combination with two barrels early on. Morais got a final opportunity on his backhand but failed to exit the barrel and the South African Smith moved on to the Round of 16.

“I think every heat is important regardless, whether it’s guys trying to re-qualify or for myself eyeing down the title race,” said Smith. “I need to get a win, it’s really simple for me. You just have to focus on getting those good waves, France is one of those locations that can go any way, with the tides and those beach breaks. Frederico got one of the best waves of the event and nearly made another one, if he did I could have been comboed, so I was just lucky to kind of chip away.”

After five events on the sideline due to a shoulder injury, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) kept his return to competition just as triumphant as on opening day, taking a buzzer-beater win over the 11X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA). The Italian, considered by many on the beach as a Hossegor local, found a deep cover on a long right and posted an excellent 8.33 to turn the heat and eliminate the Floridian.

Kolohe Andino (USA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) advanced into the Round of 16, as opposed to Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) who fell short in his battle with Jack Freestone (AUS). In the ‘bubble-battle’ between Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Yago Dora (BRA), respectively 20th and 22nd on the rankings, it was Dora who came out on top despite Colapinto’s highest score of 8.23.

The French contingent lost half his representatives today with Mignot, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) and Joan Duru (FRA) edged out in the Round of 32. Jeremy Flores (FRA), Michel Bourez (FRA) and Marc Lacomare (FRA) will keep the blue, white and red flag going into the Round of 16.

The next call will be on Tuesday, October 8, at 8:30 a.m. Event organizers will assess the conditions and decide the day’s competition schedule.

Ian Crane Wins Red Bull Airborne

SEIGNOSSE / HOSSEGOR / CAPBRETON, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Saturday, October 5, 2019) – Ian Crane (USA) has won the Red Bull Airborne France, an aerial specialty event featuring 18 of the most innovative surfers in the air, both on and off the Championship Tour (CT). Capacity crowds estimated at 25,000 people flocked the beach in Hossegor to watch the best aerialists in the world take on scary shorebreak ramps all afternoon.

Pictured: The podium of the 2019 Red Bull Airborne France. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

The Final featured Ian Crane (USA), Nomme Mignot (FRA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Finn McGill (HAW) and Reef Heazlewood (AUS) in a 45-minute showdown where only the highest score of each surfer counted. 

California’s Crane posted the Final’s biggest score in the opening 5 minutes with a stratospheric straight air on his forehand, beautifully grabbed and landed absolutely perfectly to take a firm grip on the heat. Mignot, Colapinto and Huscenot all posted scores with landed maneuvers but no one really challenged Crane for the lead. McGill maybe had the closest calls with really progressive moves but he couldn’t stay on his feet and unfortunately was left scoreless.

Heazlewood replicated Crane’s air but on a smaller section and couldn’t take flight quite high enough, but the air was enough to push him up to 3rd as the clock approached the last 5 minutes. As time ran out the situation remained unchanged and Ian Crane walked away with the win. The American becomes the first non-CT surfer to claim a Red Bull Airborne victory.

 

Pictured: Crane’s winning air was epic. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

But the lineup really started to deliver for the second heat, in which local wildcard Marc Lacomare (FRA) posted a near-perfect 9.10 for a long and deep barrel on a solid left as he advanced into Round 3 alongside compatriot Michel Bourez (FRA), eliminating Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in the process.

“So much emotions today I’m super happy,” said Lacomare. “Conditions were really tricky and even though local knowledge may have helped, you really had to be lucky to be in the right spot out there. Getting a wildcard to compete against the best in the world at home is an incredible gift. I did well last time so hopefully I can repeat that and I hope the waves keep getting better and better.”

Soli Bailey (AUS) showcased his incredible barrel riding skills in the following heat as he slid right under the lip at take-off and navigated two long sections in the tube to post an excellent 8.17 for the win. The Australian rookie on the Championship Tour hasn’t made it out of Round 3 all season but the conditions in France could offer a turning point for the former winner of the Volcom Pipe Pro.

“This morning I was free surfing out there and it was super hard to find the right waves,” said Bailey. “I was jumping up and down this morning at the chance to surf La Graviere. Growing up as a kid watching this event, this is a dream, these are the sort of waves that I love surfing. It was a pleasure to surf out there, definitely tricky but I was stoked to find that one.”

Conner Coffin (USA) pulled a miracle make on a late-entry backhand barrel to post his own 9.10 in the final men’s Elimination Round heat. The Californian lost control of his fins at takeoff, sliding dangerously down the face of the wave but somehow managed to get a line, build speed inside the tube and exit with the spit down the line.

“I’ve had a few great heats this season that I ended up losing and it’s nice to have that one go my way,” said Coffin. “I broke my magic board just paddling out for my heat and I thought wow here comes another shocker, but luckily I got that 9. There are so many waves out there but it’s tough to be in position.”

DAY TWO POST SHOW 

The first major upset of the event happened in the opening women’s Elimination Round heat when 7X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) was eliminated by Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Paige Hareb (NZL). The Australian had not lost before the Quarterfinals all season and this result in the Roxy Pro France could unfortunately count her out of the World Title race for 2019.

“That was my first heat in solid La Graviere and it was a little nerve-wracking sort of new territory,” said Gilmore. “It’s nice to see the girls being pushed in these new areas, we have to perform in all sorts of conditions, unfortunately I couldn’t do that today. It was a tough heat, I got smashed a few times, broke my board and cut my hand. It’s definitely a bad result for me and you can’t win world titles with those.”

Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) took out the second Elimination Round and advanced alongside Silvana Lima (BRA), dispatching Bronte Macaulay (AUS) in equal 17th place in an event she reached the Semifinals last season.

Seeding Rounds Complete on Exciting Opening Day of Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France

SEIGNOSSE / HOSSEGOR / CAPBRETON, Landes, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France (Thursday, October 3, 2019) – The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France launched today in quality three-to-five foot surf at the backup venue of Les Culs Nus. The competition ran through the opening round of both the men’s and women’s fields and showcased high-performance surfing at its finest with rail game and airs on display all day.

Pictured: Gabriel Medina (BRA) put on a spectacular show above the lip. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

Stop No. 8 and 9 on the women and men’s 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour respectively, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France carry both World Title and Olympic qualification implications. As expected in Southwest France, surfers had to adapt to a multitude of conditions as the peaks moved around sandbanks through high and low tides and offshore to onshore winds.

Brasilian Trio Medina, Toledo, Ferreira, Cruises Past Round 1

Pictured: Italo Ferreira (BRA) put together a strong effort on the rail to advance into Round 3. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

Reigning two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) stamped his authority on the Seeding Round in France with an impressive display in the air to dispatch Michael Rodrigues (BRA) and wildcard Marco Mignot (FRA). Coming off a win in Lemoore, Medina showed no sign of slowing down, catching 19 waves in his heat. On his best two rides, he launched into his signature, inverted-forehand rotations and landed clean for two solid scores and the win.  

“It feels good to be back in France, surfing a rippable left and getting through that first heat,” said Medina. “We’ve had a really busy last few weeks with so many events but I feel fit and I’ve got a great board under my feet. It looks like conditions are going to be fun for this event.”

Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) also advanced in first position into Round 3 as the three Brasilians are locked in a battle for the two qualifying spots into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. World No. 2 Toledo however had to come in a little after halfway through his heat as his back injury sustained at the Freshwater Pro a little over a week ago came back to haunt him in his heat.

“It’s a bummer especially after doing some work for a whole week with no pain,” said Toledo. “After a freesurf yesterday I woke up this morning a little sore but I went out and tried my best in the heat. Unfortunately on my first wave I felt more pain, so I’m going to go see the doctors and see what’s going on.”

French wildcard Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) managed to get his first CT heat win over World No. 3 Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) this morning as well.

Owen Wright (AUS) claimed the round’s highest single score of 8.17 for a combination of three big backhand turns, his compatriot and defending event winner Julian Wilson (AUS) scrapped through a low scoring affair and 11X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) opened with a bang to advance into the Round of 16 after a two-year absence from the Hossegor lineup.

In the final heat of the day, local favorite Jeremy Flores (FRA) managed to turn his heat around in the dying moments to skip the elimination round, unfortunately sending compatriot Michel Bourez (FRA) in last position.

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) made a flamboyant return to competition with a Round 1 win over World No. 4 Kolohe Andino (USA) and Yago Dora (BRA). While Andino and Dora took their act to the air on the rights for their best counting score, Fioravanti who knows the lineups around Hossegor as well as anyone, opted for the lefts that really stood up on the bank and offered vertical sections. The Italian built a solid 14.40 total to take the win into Round 2, Dora and Andino both with an excellent 8+ score had to settle for second and third respectively.

Women’s Title Contenders Off to a Bumpy Start in France

Pictured: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) couldn’t find enough sections to lay her powerful turns and will surf in the elimination round when the event resumes. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

World No. 3 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) got her campaign underway in the punchy little lefts and rights of Culs Nus to take the opening heat of the Seeding Round and move on to the Round of 16. The Australian played the patient approach, only riding four waves in her 30-minute encounter with Brisa Hennessy (HAW) and Paige Hareb (NZL) and made her scores count with a best ride of 6.50.

“It’s a fun little puzzle you can’t really hear your scores out there and it’s just you and the ocean,” said Fitzgibbons. “All the girls are ripping so it great to get away with the win in this one and I’m happy I got a couple of waves.”

Things got a little tougher for the current Jeep Leaderboard No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA) who faced off with last year’s event runner-up Macy Callaghan (AUS) and Bronte Macaulay (AUS) but the American managed to squeeze through in second position and avoided the treacherous Elimination Round.

Keely Andrew (AUS) got a come-from-behind victory in Heat 4, courtesy of a good 3-turn combo on her backhand for a 7.33. The Australian upset the 7X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and local favorite Johanne Defay (FRA), as the pair fought for second place. Eventually, it was Defay who skipped the Elimination Round and Gilmore will surf it for the first time since Bells Beach last season.

Tahitian Up-and-Comer Takes First CT Win Over World No. 1

Pictured: Vahine Fierro (PYF) showed strong potential in her opening heat in Hossegor. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

Roxy wildcard and former World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro (PYF) posted her first-ever CT heat win over the 3X WSL Champion and current Yellow Jeep Leader jersey Carissa Moore (HAW) in only her second time performing at the elite level. The surfer from Tahiti has been turning heads as a standout at Teahupoo and is out to gain experience against the best in the world this week.

“It’s always nice to win against the number one in the world,” said Fierro. “Waves were tricky but I got a couple of turns on the rights and it was fun. Surfing Teahupoo is definitely a scary experience and I think it prepares me for anything. I was here surfing a couple of days ago when it was big and I honestly wasn’t even scared so maybe surfing Teahupoo before every event is the way to go.”

 

Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France Welcomes WSL Championship Tour to Europe

France: The world’s best surfers have arrived in the Southwest of France as they prepare for the start of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour’s (CT) European leg with the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France. 

Pictured: The world’s best surfers have arrived in France for the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro France. – Credit: WSL/ Masurel

The legendary beachbreaks of the Landes region will play host to the 18th edition of the sole French CT stop, hosted at the iconic surf towns of Seignosse, Hossegor and Capbreton. The holding period for the event opens on Thursday, October 3 and runs through Sunday, October 13, 2019. 

With just three events remaining in the 2019 WSL CT calendar, the World Title picture has begun to crystalize. The race is far from over, but the contenders have separated from the pack of the world’s best surfers and the pressure is on those with real title hopes to make the most of the few opportunities they have left. For the first time ever, Olympic dreams are on the line as the qualification for Tokyo 2020 plays out over the tour’s final chapters.

Two-time reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and 3X World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) lead the men’s and women’s rankings heading into Europe with Filipe Toledo (BRA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) all in pursuit of the Jeep frontrunner position as well as their own respective inaugural world titles.

All Eyes on Medina

Pictured: Gabriel Medina (BRA) has been a standout in France both below and above the lip. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

Coming in hot after a win at the Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, Gabriel Medina (BRA) lands in France with a chance to break away from his opponents in the 2019 WSL Title race. The Brazilian star has an incredible track record in the Southwest beach breaks, with three wins and two other Final appearances over the years. His dynamic style of surfing, and big hollow barrels abilities are a perfect fit for the diversity of conditions found in France and another win here would be a giant leap in his bid for a third world crown.

“France has always been good to me and I hope it will be the same this year,” said Medina. “Each contest is a new one for me so I start from the beginning every time. Everyone is so hungry for the win so I’m just keeping my focus on me. The whole world stops to watch the Olympics and root for their country and hopefully this time I’ll be there and people will be rooting for me!”

But Medina’s job in France won’t be easy as his direct competition Toledo and Smith are also carrying momentum from a big result in Lemoore and will be out to prove their worth in an event where they haven’t been the most consistent standouts.

For local star Jeremy Flores (FRA) the Quiksilver Pro France also carries huge importance. The Frenchman sits 14th on the Jeep Leaderboard and looks to solidify a top spot on the rankings and a potential qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games under the French flag. Raised partly on the shores of Southwest France, Flores is a fan favorite here and would love to reach the final matchups for the first time on home soil.

“It’s always a pleasure to come home to France,” Flores said. “After all the time on the road, it’s nice to sit down and enjoy the little things here, the good food and the downtime with family. I hope conditions are good this week, we haven’t been very lucky in the past few years so hopefully, fans get to see the big waves and heavy barrels we all like to surf here. This traditionally hasn’t been my best performance of the year but like any other event I enter I’m here to win and maybe this time some things can go my way.” 

Women’s Title Race Heats Up

Pictured: Johanne Defay (FRA) knows the lineups around Hossegor better than anyone on the Championship Tour and can count on the fans support as well. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

The 2019 WSL women’s title race is as exciting as ever and the current frontrunners have all had great success in France in the past, making this stop particularly important once again. Three-time WSL Champion Moore has the upper hand but close behind her, Peterson, Fitzgibbons, and Gilmore are all chasing a big finish.

7X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) has won twice in France but it has been a long seven years since her last victory. Consistent as ever this season with Quarterfinal finishes at worst in the first seven events of 2019, Gilmore has also been uncharacteristically absent of the Finals more often than not, with just one CT event win in Bali so far this year. The rippable beach breaks and hollow barrels of the region could be a turning point in the Australian’s bid for a record-breaking eight title.

“This event marks the beginning of the end for us,” said Gilmore. “Conditions in Europe are always the most challenging because you don’t know what you’re going to get so you have to be able to adapt. If I can qualify for the Olympic Games it would really ease my nerves. Being in the top two surfers from your country is a really tough battle so it’s going to be exciting to watch that go down. I’d love to make the team and represent Australia.”

Fresh off a runner-up finish in California, French surfer Johanne Defay (FRA) can dream big as well as she chases her own spot for the 2020 Olympics. The powerful regular foot surfer from Reunion Island sits within the provisional cut for Tokyo and has a chance to distance herself from her competition with a result in France.

“Right now I’m feeling pretty good about my chances,” said Defay. “I know there’s a lot of work to be done still and I’d like to have a good result here in France too. I set my goals for each event to try and reach the Quarters at least and every next heat is a bonus, but ultimately we’re always here to win events.”

Wildcards and Injury Updates

Pictured: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) will make a much-awaited comeback to competition in France. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

John John Florence (HAW), Mikey Wright (AUS) and Adriano de Souza (BRA) have withdrawn from the event due to their ongoing injuries and Caio Ibelli (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT) and Marco Mignot (FRA) will replace them.

Marc Lacomare (FRA) has been selected as the Quiksilver wildcard and Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) has earned his place in the event as the highest-ranked French surfer on the Qualifying Series Rankings following the conclusion of the EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira.

The Roxy Pro wildcard has been awarded to 2017 WSL Junior Champion Vahine Fierro (FRA).

France to host final edition of 2019 Red Bull Airborne

Pictured: The Red Bull Airborne France is a spectacular addition to the show in Hossegor. – Credit: WSL/ Poullenot

The event will also feature the conclusion of the Red Bull Airborne for 2019, an aerial specialty event featuring 18 of the most innovative surfers in the air, both on and off the Championship Tour. The event window for the Red Bull Airborne France will open tomorrow and run through October 9, 2019. 

18 surfers will be featured across two rounds. The first round will host six qualifying heats (Qualifying Rounds 1 and 2) with six surfers in each heat. The second round will be the six-person Final. 

The first call will be tomorrow, Thursday, October 3 at 8:30 a.m. local time for a possible 9:05 a.m. start at Les Culs Nuls. Event organizers will assess the conditions and decide the day’s competition schedule. 

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL’s Facebook page, and the WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

Surfline Forecast for the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro France

Quiksilver Pro France Seeding Round (Round 1) Matchups:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)  
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA), Yago Dora (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Marco Mignot (FRA)
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Willian Cardoso (BRA), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA), Conner Coffin (USA), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 10: Seth Moniz (HAW), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA), Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)

Roxy Pro France Seeding Round (Round 1) Matchups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Vahine Fierro (PYF)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 5: Caroline Marks (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA)  

Red Bull Airborne Bali Qualifying Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson, Eithan Osborne, Kalani David, Reef Heazlewood, Matt Meola, Albee Layer 
Heat 2: Noa Deane, Kevin Schultz, Griffin Colapinto, Ian Crane, Matt Banting, Nomme Mignot
Heat 3: Chippa Wilson, Jack Freestone, Eric Gieselman, Finn Mcgill, Cam Richards, Maxime Huscenot

Red Bull Airborne Bali Qualifying Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Noa Deane, Jack Freestone, Eric Geiselman, Ian Crane, Matt Meola, Albee Layer 
Heat 2: Julian Wilson, Kevin Schultz, Finn Mcgill, Reef Heazlewood, Matt Banting, Maxime Huscenot
Heat 3: Chippa Wilson, Eithan Osborne, Griffin Colapinto, Kalani David, Cam Richards, Nomme Mignot