Stab Magazine | Stab's picks for the 2014 Quiksilver Pro, France
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Stab’s picks for the 2014 Quiksilver Pro, France

Last year, our man Damien Fahrenfort was in the commentary booth at the Quiksilver Pro, France. After some calls that rubbed some people of influence the wrong way, Doom was ejected (permanently) from the booth along with Jake Paterson. He was there then, and he’s here, now. Without a microphone. His form guide last event was flawless and, regardless of […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Last year, our man Damien Fahrenfort was in the commentary booth at the Quiksilver Pro, France. After some calls that rubbed some people of influence the wrong way, Doom was ejected (permanently) from the booth along with Jake Paterson. He was there then, and he’s here, now. Without a microphone. His form guide last event was flawless and, regardless of how begrudgingly you’ll admit it, a crystallised case of I-told-you-so. And it’s with that in mind that we’ll dive into his picks for this year’s Quiksilver Pro, France, which shall sound its first siren any minute now…

****

1. John John Florence
JohnJohn_2_Cestari

Bet on this gent if you know what’s good for your account. Yes, he rode out of this. ASP/Cestari

There’s nothing worse than that intoxicating aroma of victory being ripped from right underneath you. It’s happened twice in two events. John was the best at Teahupoo along with Kelly but lost on a countback to Mr Slater in the Tahiti semis. And yes, poor John was also the form surfer at the Hurley Pro but the form surfer never wins. France, on the other hand, could be different. Why? Because John is too smart to make the same mistake twice. His wave selection let him down. He tends to choose waves that offer him the chance for a single huge manoeuvre. Great at beachbreaks, not at running waves like Lowers. He’s the best surfer in dumpy beach breaks in the world. Remember his first world tour victory in Brazil? There’s a decent swell heading for France this weekend that’ll likely clear up the banks at La Graviere and hopefully provide a setting like the last few events have seen. The apartment John rents while lounging in France is also the best on the strip. His room looks directly into the pipe at La Grav.

****

2. Mick Fanning
Mick_kirstin-1

Never, ever count Mick out. No one would’ve guessed he’d win last year’s France event, especially in sloppy beachies against Gabriel Medina in the final. Next thing we know: Champagne shower feat. Mr Fanning. ASP/Kirstin

I know, how boring when there’s so many young bucks chomping for a result and so deadly above the lip. But, it’s no secret France is for the working man. You gotta grind out results and work for your waves and there ain’t no one that punches the clock harder than Mick. It’s up and down the beach, there’s a current and the peak you were eyeing before your heat can be gone in seconds with a rip. You need to keep your cool and no one is cooler than Mr Fanning. He has a game plan that he can reset over and over. He will never get flustered and has a B or C plan every time. It’s no wonder he feels comfortable here too, since he’s won the event four times – the most out of anyone, ever. He’s won two events this year and loves a comeback, especially when the focus isn’t on him. In reality he’s the only one that can make a proper run at Gabs’ World Title once he drops his worst two results.

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3. Jordy Smith
Jordy_Varial_Cestari

We’re so used to powerhouse Jordy that it’s easy to forget how varied his surfing can be when it’s required. Board varial, last year. ASP/Cestari

There are few things in this world better than telling someone I told you so. So I’ll take great enjoyment in this one: I told you so. The African mamba went and won Lowers. Yes, yes, yes he wasn’t the best surfer at the event but who cares? He was the best surfer in the final. His confidence is back and he’ll be sticking to the same game plan in France. That game plan is simple: Don’t overthink it, enjoy surfing and stop doing those two-hand-in-the-water laybacks. They’re risky and they don’t score. Like the last event, he’s got a few mates meeting him in France to hang out and support him. For the rest of the year this man will be a wave magnet. He’s out of the title race, got a win under his belt and having more fun than anyone else on tour right now (in the water, that is; Wilko’s winning night life fun).

****

4. Kelly Slater
08KELLY_LaurentPujol

Imagine waves like this for the event! It is almost unimaginable! Kelly, photographed by the masterful Laurent Pujol. Yeah, you’ve seen this one before, but any excuse to run it, right?

One win in France out of 99 events surfed there! Well, not 99, more than Filipe, Gabs and Jordy combined. How did this happen? Well, for one, while La Grav might be the best beach break in the world, it’s also the most difficult to surf. All of his performances here are memorable but he’s only managed to put it together in the final once and that was in 2012 against an in-form Dane Reynolds. Our dear friend Mr Slater has a point to prove at this event, more so than any other this year. This is his old sponsor’s premier event and a majority of the small town of Hossegor works for Quik. He also hasn’t had a win this year and if anyone is going to come back and win three events back to back it’s going to be Kelly. Fun fact: In 2012 when he won the event for his first time Kelly brought his gal’s pet dog, Action, with him to France. If you see the dog again, bet on Kelly. It’s his lucky charm.

****

5. Gabs Medina
Gabriel_kirstin

The punchy sand-bottomed setups can really accommodate and compliment Gabriel’s surfing when they’re right. ASP/Kirstin

As I said pre-Lowers, Gabs is in World title mode and not trying to win so much as keep a high minimum, just as he did at Lowers. While Ace tore in their quarterfinal heat, the only reason he won was because Gabs fell of on a stock air after a full rote that would’ve netted him a perfect 10. It was clear at Lowers that Gabs was feeling the pressure; He looked shaky at the best of times but still managed to pull it off. It’s probs pretty hard not to feel the pressure when you have your dad standing around while you prep for your heat, looking like he’s waiting for news about whether or not the world is ending. Gabs keeps it cool and focuses on what he’s good at. There’s another fifth on the books for Gabs in France. Which isn’t a bad thing when you have an extraordinary lead in the title race. He’ll win the title before Europe is over.

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Wildcard: Dane Reynolds
This is Dane, spinning on a smaller day as wildcard at last year's event. Let's hope we get to see him in another final and in similar conditions to 2012. ASP/Kirstin

This is Dane, spinning on a smaller day as wildcard at last year’s event. Let’s hope we get to see him in another final and in similar conditions to 2012. ASP/Kirstin

Finally, Dane’s back in an event. At Lowers, we were robbed of our Dane Reynolds viewing pleasure because he didn’t want to be part of a social media contest. Yes, Carlos and Tanner put on a good show, but we knew they never had a chance of winning the event. So I now introduce to you the healthy Dane Reynolds. Injury free and ripping. The man has been on back to back to back to back trips. Tahiti, Indo, Panama, Mex. He’s stoked to be back in the water healthier and fitter. And, as much as he says he isn’t into competition, you just know he loves to put on a show.

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