If you’ve been following little word studio for a while, you know I’m a newly converted fan of surfing. Back in August, I had the chance to cover the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which rolled in and out of Huntington Beach with due excitement, and the entire experience got me hooked.
It’s a fairly easy sport to learn—surfers have the length of a heat to rack up two high-scoring waves, worth up to 10 points each—and completely mesmerizing to watch. When the world’s best take to the water, carving the green wall, finding the reform among frothy foam, it’s more than just a competition; it’s an art.
This week, the most elite surfers on the planet have landed in Hossengor, France for the next stop on the 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour: The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, held Oct. 7-18 on one of France’s most popular surf spots.
On the men’s front, South African Jordy Smith currently sits at the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard and seeks to put some room between him and the next-best WSL competitor, John John Florence from Hawaii.
“I still have a lot of work to do and at this point anything can happen,” Smith said. “I’ll just try to do my best surfing and see where that puts me. I love coming to Hossegor and it’s a great time of year to be here.”
The women’s current leader, Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), arrives in France after placing third in Portugal’s Cascais Women’s Pro. She last won this French event in 2013 and a No. 1 finish here would place plenty of wiggle room between her and WSL’s next best: American Courtney Conlogue and Australian Tyler Wright.
“I look back over the year and there’s been so many exciting moments and it’s led to such a close title race,” Fitzgibbons said. “I’m having so much fun in this one, I feel calm, you get to mature and evolve under these pressures and being on tour so long.”
Local surf star Johanne Defay (France) is expected to perform well on the Hossegor peaks and needs a strong few rides after disappointing in Trestles and Casais. And if the waves don’t cooperate, at the very least, the crowd will certainly be on her side.
“I’m super happy to be back in France and enjoying nice sunny days in Hossegor,” Defay said. “I got to surf good waves these past few days and I’m excited to surf, the banks look fun! It’s a great time to be on tour right now, we are a number of girls battling for the wins at every stop and it’s as exciting as ever.”
The first call to determine whether the surfers will ride tomorrow is happening at 7:45 a.m. local time. Stay tuned to the blog for more updates on WSL surfing.