Fantasy Surfer picks for the Quiksilver Pro France: Who will baguette?

The Quiksilver Pro France kicks off on September 26 and runs its waiting period through October 6. This, the first half of the European leg of the World Tour, takes place in the waves of Hossegor. This year, the tour is setting up just north of La Graviere, one of the best beach-break waves on the planet. The waves here may be sand bottom, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a cake walk. La Graviere may be sandy, but it’s also very shallow, with barrels that pitch thick and break quick. When it’s smaller, the wave is perfect for punchy airs and vertical snaps. When it’s big, however, making it not only into but also out of the barrels shows off the technical skill of each surfer.

Fantasy Surfer gives you $50,000,000 to pick eight surfers for your fantasy team, and each surfer’s monetary value is based on his current WCT ranking. The following is my team for the 2013 Quiksilver Pro France:

Mick Fanning ($12,000,000): Though he’s been knocked out in Round 3 for the past two years, White Lightning has won the event ’10, ’09, and ’07.  Not only that, but this contest is pivotal in the 2013 World Title race. Fanning is one of only three guys to take a title off of Slater in the last 20 years (Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson being the other two). And he’s poised to do it again this year, for the third time (something only AI has done). The year-end ASP rankings are based on a surfer’s eight best scores out of ten contests. So far, Fanning’s two throwaway scores are a ninth place and fifth place, compared to Slater who already has two thirteenth places and a ninth. Fanning is going to be looking to put up a strong performance here — one that will really solidify his lead going into the tail-end of the ’13 tour. Plus, I think Fanning really wants to enter the land of the few who has been able to win three or more World Titles: Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Tom Curren, and Mark Richards.

 Jordy Smith ($8,750,000): Jordy’s been my guy all year. It’s been a rebuilding year for him, and I think he’s shown great form across the board. Currently sitting third place in the WCT rankings, Jordy could still conceivably nab his first World Title this year. Jordy is that perfect meld of old school power and new school trickery, and with La Graviere as the venue he’s going to be equally strong whether it’s small or big.

John John Florence ($8,000,000): I had Medina on my team, and was about to save it, but I just couldn’t do it — I couldn’t not have John John on my team. The guy excels in steep and deep waves like those that will hopefully show early next week. His third place finish last year was so impressive. The kid took all his know-how from Hawai’I and repurposed it for the shifty, sandy bottom waves, and he just lit it up. The only two guys who surfed better than him were Dane and Kelly. I’m looking for a repeat of last year.

Michel Bourez ($7,250,000): With no WCT wins, and spotty year-end rankings over his four years on tour, The Spartan has one place where he’s always consistent – Southwest France. Bourez has put up two fifth place finishes in ’10 and ’11, and ninth last year. That’s pretty regular, when folks like Fanning are being knocked out in Round 3. I’ve been putting Bourez on my team for the past several years when the European leg starts.

Ace Buchan ($6,750,000): Ace is another guy I look to at this point in the season. He’s put up two ninth place finishes in ’12 and ’11, a third place in ’10, and he even won it over Slater in ’08. Ace knows how to navigate the dumping and thumping landscape of this break. Buchan and Spartan are my dynamic duo, and they always keep my Fantasy team afloat at this venue.

Kieren Perrow ($3,750,000): Perrow is another late replacement for me. I had Kolohe Andino in this spot based on his fifth place finish last year, but Kolohe is just so iffy. So, looking around, I saw Perrow, who also finished fifth not only last year, but also in ’10. Perrow gets my vote.

Pat Gudauskas ($1,500,000): With $3mil remaining, and knowing that half of that was going to Dane, I grabbed up Gudang. His surfing was really impressive at Lowers last week, where he took on all comers with a fortitude I didn’t really know he had.

Dane Reynolds ($1,500,000): Dane is the best surfer behind Slater, but, man, he blew it at Lowers. Granted, he may have had an injured hand, and the guy who took him out was in fact Slater. But, for this price, even as unimpressed as I was last week, I’m still going to put Dane on my team. Dane was on fire last year at Hossegor, where he took second behind Slater. Dane’s fluidity, power, and style throughout the entire event showed all the other guys just how one should approach that wave.

Look out for Slater at this contest. He’s not on my team, but only because I had to pick between him or Fanning, and Fanning has the wins in France and the unfailing momentum this year.  Slater is going to need to execute a perfect run here in order to stay in the title race, and we all know that if anyone can do it it’s him. Also, I think Gabriel Medina could really show here. He’s had an off year, but the kid knows how to surf France. He won it in ’11 and placed fifth last year. Julian Wilson is also going to be riding the high of his final last week as he pulls into his first waves, and he knows what to do in France since he was the one who finished second to Medina a couple of years back.

http://quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2013/

www.fantasysurfer.com

www.aspworldtour.com

Bo Bacot grew up surfing up and down the Grand Strand. For 25 years, he would sneak in a session whenever he could: before and after school, lunch breaks from work, weekends, weekdays, whenever.  Now that he’s moved back to Tennessee to further his education, Bo thinks about the ocean perhaps more than he ever did when it was in his backyard. If asked, Bo will proudly proclaim that he is the best surfer living in Knoxville, TN.

 

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