2018 Quiksilver Pro France Preview
The next WT stop in France is just around the corner and the world title race is rawer than a steak tartare. Gabriel and Filipe are looking like duking it out, but Julian Wilson and Italo are still in the mix coming into a few events that suit their game.
This event is generally about heaving beach breaks, so those quick on their feet, who can thread a pit and finish with Hail Mary moves are the ones to watch. The banks are looking good too, with the main site dishing up mostly right handers and a rip bowl left across the way. Even if the swell is on the smaller side, there will be plenty of punch on offer.
Here’s how the Billabong crew are likely to go, come battle royale time October 3rd.
There aren’t too many events that Parko doesn’t have a good record at and France is no exception. He’s won before, finished runner up before and made the quarters last year in 2017. The whole pace of Hossegor suits Joel who’s generally cooler than a champagne-soaked cucumber. He’s also a proper tube pig, so as soon as La Graviere starts oinking, our guy will too. If it’s 6ft+ Parko could easily make his swan-song event here a win.
You think Griffin is pumped to slide into a few punchy pits before flying out and launching skyward? Oui, Oui. It’s hard to imagine a wave that would suit his type of surfing more than Hossegor. Barrels and Hail Mary’s - that’s the top line on his bossed-out business card. After a good start to the season, the last few event finishes have seen Griff slide from the top 10 to 15th slot. You can bet he’s itching to peg it back and be in contention for rookie of the year coming into Pipe. Nothing like a bit of motivation to get the froth fizzing.
Just a short flight from home and feeling the European crowd love on the beach, Freddy Morais will be in the groove at France faster than a retrofitted record needle. His tube sense and power hacks, combined with his wetsuit-rubber fetish in cold water, is a deadly combo against any competitor. Fred’s one start here last year was an up and down affair though, with a solid 15 point total in round 2, before packing his bags for home in round 3. Let’s hope there’s more dazzle than razzle, when he dons the singlet against teammate Italo Ferreira and 2016 event champ Keanu Asing in round 1.
Like a fine French wine, Italo has hit a vintage year in 2018. Two wins and sitting in top five, he looks unbeatable when he gets on a roll. Italo stomps impossible airs, squeaks out of impossible pits and makes lightning pocket jabs look like a walk in the park. Italo comes out swinging in any size surf too, which makes him a serious threat at a beach break known for serving up varying conditions, even in a single day. The one question mark here is consistency, it’s almost like if he isn’t first, he’s last, so get past round 3 and look out. That’s actually been the story here at France as well as 2018 in general. The last two years here were early outs, but his rookie attempt was final series. Seems like Italo’s due for a top tier finish.