THE Quiksilver Pro France, Stop No. 7 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) is off and running. The world's best surfers are battling it out at the idyllic sandbars of Hossegor's La Graviere.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, defending Quiksilver Pro France Champion and current No. 12 on the ASP WCT, secured a career first elite tour victory in Hossegor last season in just his second appearance as an official member of the ASP Top 34. With a year's worth of experience under his belt against the world's best surfers, the prodigious Brazilian is excited about returning to France to defend his title. It will all be live here.
"I have been coming to France for a long time and I love the waves here," Medina said. "The waves have a lot of variety and I have a lot of history here. I won the King of the Groms here in 2009 and then two years later won the main event. I hope I can have another good year here."
Medina, fresh off of a 9th place finish at Lower Trestles, has continued to deliver a lethal aerial game this season and the Hossegor's French beachbreaks offer up the perfect arena for the young Brazilian to showcase his talents.
"The waves in France offer a lot of variety," Medina said. "Some days are good for barrels. Some days are good for airs. Others for turns. That's what I like about them. Every day can offer something different."
Medina will take on C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, and Fredrick Patacchia, 30, in Round 1 of competition. Patacchia has replaced Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, who remains sidelined following a knee injury sustained at Tavarua in June.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, current No. 11 on the ASP WCT, has built momentum throughout his sophomore year amongst the elite and the progressive Australian's well-rounded fundamentals could prove dangerous in the ever-changing conditions of Southern France.
"France is one of my favorite events," Wilson said. "I have had a lot of experience there as a grommet and then as a wildcard. It's been the site of my best result so far on the WCT and I feel very comfortable there. Hoping for one better this year, but we'll see what the week brings."
Wilson, who finished runner-up at the Quiksilver Pro France last season, is coming off of a recent win at the ASP Prime in Huntington Beach and the passionate Australian will be hungry to improve on last year's second place finish at the Quiksilver Pro France.
"I've had a pretty decent season so far but haven't had any breakaway results," Wilson said. "I had a really strong European leg last year and I'm hoping that will translate to these upcoming events.
Wilson will face former event winner Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, and Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, in Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro France.
Joining the ASP Top 34 in France will be former elite tour campaigner Dane Reynolds (USA), 27, and trials winner Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), 22, as wildcards.
Event organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 8:30am to assess conditions for a possible 9am start.
When competition commences, up first will be Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, Kai Otton (AUS), 32, and Taylor Knox (USA), 41, in the opening heat of Round 1.
The Quiksilver Pro France will be webcast LIVE via quiksilverlive.com/profrance/2012/
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF), Trials Winner
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Brett Simpson (USA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Heitor Alves (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)