When I've had a chance I've been catching up on the Quicky Pro in France. In my opinion, it's the best stop on the WSL tour. La Graviere and the surrounding breaks are amazing. It's heavy and unpredictable, and yes Pete Mel and co, they have quite big tides, which when the conditions are right can produce heavy and hollow waves. The event got off to a slow start due to poor conditions but when the swell finally kicked in, we were rewarded with epic swell and great surfing.
photo credit: Ryan Heywood
One thing that got a few new comers to the WSL a bit confused was the fact that Josh Kerr (retired WSL competitor and air wizard) had been allowed by the WSL to introduce the new RedBull Airborne event. This is where a select few WSL competitors and some of the worlds best aerialists are invited to battle it out to display their talents in a new wave format, similar to the skateboarding and snowboarding competitions. I personally LOVE this type of event because we get to see these guys concentrate on just pulling the best airs and getting rewarded for the degree of commitment and difficulty... BUT one thing, the event was on the day before the main event and the waves were pretty bad. If they were given the opportunity to surf in the waves they had on the 1st day of the new swell, I guarantee we would have seen even crazier airs than what was going down. But not to take anything away from the winner Yago Dora (Rookie WSL Competitor), he was the most consistent in the final stages along with Runners up Griffin Colapinto (Rookie WSL Competitor) and Jack Freestone. This new Aerial Concept Event will take place alongside the main WSL event throughout the tour next year at selected breaks and will allow lesser known aerialists to showcase what they can do, which I'm very much looking forward to.
photo credit: Ed Sloane photo
The Main event kicked off and over the 1st couple of days we got to the see the worlds best surfers compete in some pretty good French beach break waves. But as I mentioned earlier, the tides had an effect on the conditions and some heats had some epic waves where others struggled with the shifting peaks and rips. Just south of where the event was being held some free surfers were scoring some of the best waves France has seen in a while, and to be honest the WSL should have had scouts go check out the banks so they could try and get the competitors in the best waves possible when the tides and conditions affected the main event bank. The competitors that stood out for me were Ezekiel Lau, Matt Wilkinson, Sebastian Zietz, Ryan Callinan, Mikey Wright, Griffin Colapinto, Ian Gouveia, Filipe Toledo, Yago Dora, Kolohe Andino, Pat Gudauskas and Julian Wilson. To me, these guys were pulling off the most impressive turns, combinations and going for critical manoeuvers and airs on the most critical parts of the wave. Basically throwing everything at it, sometimes successful, sometimes not, but at least they went for it.
photo credit: Boskophoto
The next heats will commence hopefully in bigger and heavier waves then what we've seen either today or Saturday. With slightly smaller neap tides and favourable winds, we could see some of the best waves in competition this year. Stay tuned!