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“What can I say about France except
it’s always a huge pleasure to come
and surf there. I love the culture, the
history and of course the waves.”
Five-time ASP World Champion and the biggest name in women’s surfing, Stephanie Gilmore is on course to become the most successful woman surfer of all time. The golden girl of her generation, her buttery style was honed on the pointbreaks of Australia’s Gold Coast, and has gained her acclaim ever since she won the Roxy Pro as a wildcard aged 17. Accolades outside her 21 ASP World Tour wins include winning the prestigious Laureus Action Sports Person of the Year 2010 and ESPN ESPY Female Action Sports Person of the Year 2011. With interests including film, fashion, dance, music, the arts and supporting environmental causes like the Coeur de Foret project, Gilmore is as impressive on land as she is in the sea
“The first Swatch event in 2010 was a real eye-opener for me, I loved the place and the waves and have been excited about going back every time since.”
Tyler Wright, emerging as a Worldbeater at just 14 years old with her successes at the Beachley Classic in Sydney and having a series of successes ever since, has the power moves and progressive airs, to be a constant threat at any venue, in any condition. Known for a tenacious and fearless approach to competition, Tyler hit the headlines early in 2013 with a huge free surf barrel in Micronesia, proving herself as an athlete and making the cover shot of men's surf magazines. Shortly afterwards she smashes the first ASP Title Race event of 2013, winning at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. With the 2011 ASP Rookie of the Year award and two 4th place finishes (2011, 2012) already under her belt, Wright is now a fully-fledged World Title contender set to make waves at future competitions.
“France is somewhere I always
dreamed of going as kid and when I
finally went, it didn’t let me down. The
waves are incredible and for me personally,
the Swatch event is one of the
standout competitions of the year.” The Swatch Girls Pro event receives high praise from the defending Champion, Courtney Conologue.
The Swatch Proteam rider from California, has emerged as America’s strongest contender for their first ASP Women’s World Title since Lisa Anderson in 1997. Displaying incredible fitness levels and trademark professionalism where ever she goes, Conologue has decided to let her surfing do the talking, favouring action shots over model shoots in her bid to gain the recognition that as a legitimate athlete she deserves. Set to pull out all the stops to secure her title of champion for another year, Conologue is one not to be missed.
“France holds a special place in our hearts as touring surfers, I fell in love with the place on my first ever visit and am super stoked every time I get to return.”
Sally Fitzgibbons became the youngest ever qualifier for the World Title Race aged 17 and has been hunting an ASP World Title ever since, agonizingly finishing runnerup for the last three years. A versatile, radical performer and savvy competitor, many believe it’s only a matter of time before she delivers the sport’s ultimate prize. An impressive athlete who has competed on a national level at athletics as a school girl, Sally is known for a rigorous training regime that comes in handy in France’s infamous beachbreak rips.
Having reached success as the Swatch Girls Pro Champion in 2011, Fitzgibbons will no doubt be hungry to restore her former title at this years event.
“I’m always really stoked to return to Hossegor for the Swatch event. Swatch pulls out all the stops, giving us women surfers amazing support and a strong platform to showcase our skills as athletes.” Swatch Proteam rider Coco Ho, is the youngest member of the legendary Ho surfing dynasty, with dad Michael a former Triple Crown winner and uncle Derek a former ASP World Champion. Ho’s radical style and infectious enthusiasm has seen her make a rapid ascent through the ranks of pro surfing, including taking out the inaugural Swatch Girls Pro France Junior 2010. Whether making dance-off clips on her blog, lighting up the Instagram newsfeed or out freesurfing, Ho’s high energy approach makes her one of the most recognisable characters in the surfing world.© 2014 ASP/Robertson ASP/Kirstin Scholtz
“Fingers crossed we get some classic conditions to put on a real show for the big summer beach crowds”, says Swatch Pro Team Rider, Pauline Ado.
Ado, who carries the torch for the Europeans on the elite ASP World Title Race, is now in her third year among the top 16 surfers in the world. Hailing from Hendaye in the French Basque Country, Ado gained international recognition by becoming ASP World Junior Champion aged 17, clinching ASP Europe Junior and Open titles, and now holds her own among the most progressive field of women surfers ever assembled. Clearly this well-rounded surfer is relishing the chance to compete in the famous French beachbreaks of Les Landes, admitting, “I love competing at home in France, especially when Hossegor turns on perfect beachbreaks". By drawing on strong support from a passionate French beach crowd who would love to see a local girl take out the title, Ado will try to better her 2012 quater-final and access that final-four stage in Hossegor this year.
“France is so completely different from Hawaii,
but sometimes the surf can be similar.
I love those powerful beachbreak
barrels, as well as the amazing culture
of the place.”
Crowned as the ASP World Champion aged just 18, its hard to conceive how Carissa Moore got so good so young! In an intensely competitive sport where steely focus determines career outcomes, it’s hard to imagine a nicer, more likeable character than the Hawaiian herself. In an era of ever-evolving performance in girls surfing, Moore qualified for the Tour while still completing high school and has been a danger at every Tour venue ever since. Whilst blending a mature power technique with a bag of ultra-modern tricks in the water, out of the water she produces a smart and insightful blog that bears testament to what a wellrounded individual she is.
HOSSEGOR is set to host another all-girl showdown this August, with the Swatch Girls Pro France tournament bringing together the lip-smacking combo of professional female surfing alongside professional beach partying.
The ASP six star rated women’s event and two star Women’s Pro Junior look set to storm the iconic beach breaks of Hossegor and Seignosse this August. This classic venue offers classy waves, plus the opportunity to score important ranking points whilst being in with a chance of the chunky Swatch Girls Pro moth-to-the-flame prize fund. It’s a hotly anticipated event due to be graced by most of female surfing’s established superstars plus those up-and-coming hopefuls dreaming of joining these familiar faces on the ASP World Championship Tour.
The lip-smacking combo of professional female surfing alongside professional beach partying.
In its fourth year of existence, Swatch Girls Pro 2013 will see 96 competitors and a further 48 juniors battling it out. The first Swatch Girls Pro France, staged at Bourdaines Beach, Seignosse in 2010, saw the crowning of Stephanie Gilmore as champion and guess who is back this year to try and reclaim her former title? The five time ASP World Champion, and all-round surf Godess will be up against the likes of reigning Swatch Girls Pro champion and world number three, Courtney Conlogue, as well as taking on the local favourite who is expected to bring in massive home crowd support, French ASP World Tour surfer and fellow Swatch rider, Pauline Ado.
This event relies on top class talent doing what they do best, whilst maintaining the essence of fun and innovation. Swatch Girls Pro has gone from strength-to-strength, not only allowing the best female surfers to showcase their skills as athletes at some of the world’s heaviest beachbreaks, but also to indulge in a bit of high class hospitality. “Swatch pulls out all the stops” states perennial contender Coco Ho and she is right about that. Surfers and surf enthusiasts from all over the Continent have shown a great deal of enthusiasm, promising the biggest crowds to date – especially as it’s taking place in the height of the season. Think summer bodies, hot sun and late nights. This isn’t just another comp best enjoyed behind the webcast, there’s an abundance of live music, DJs and a party to impress; the Swatch Girls Pro is the surf festival of the year and one definitely not to be missed.
My intention is to give a digital voice to the obvious and resonating protest in Mentawai.
Jack inhabits a world where a compact format from a long gone analogue age rules supreme.
A tight little edit of California road tripping. Good news for us surf fans.
The world title race has never been so open.
Conor Maguire is The Winter Session champ, as voted for by the panel of 36 shortlisted surfers.