ASP Top 34 Ready for European Leg Commencing with Quiksilver Pro France

Owen Wright (AUS), 21, current No. 2 on the ASP World Title rankings, will challenge reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, for the top spot at the Quiksilver Pro France. Photo: ASP/Scholtz

LA GRAVIERE, Hossegor/France (Monday, October 3, 2011) - Event No. 8 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Quiksilver Pro France, will begin its waiting period tomorrow, pairing the world's best surfers with the world class beachbreaks of Southwest France.

Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, two-time ASP World Champion (2007, 2009) and defending Quiksilver Pro France winner, has had a hot-and-cold season thus far in 2011, currently rated No. 7 on the ASP World Title rankings.

"To be honest I’m not too impressed with the results I've had this year," Fanning said. "Sometimes you’re on sometimes you’re not, but it’s all good still learning. The rest of the year, I’ll still be trying to win events. As for the ASP World Title, being realistic, I’m probably out of the race but I am still going to give it my best to give 'em hell. Getting up the ratings as far as possible is a goal but enjoying my surfing is the greatest focus for now."

Ever a force in the "Old World", the lightning-fast Australian cites his ability to adapt as a key component to his successful history in Europe.

"Europe can be tricky but I have my little ways to stay on top of it," Fanning said. "I really enjoy Europe and the waves. I guess the idea of it changing so much everyday is exciting for me. Hope fully the Euro leg goes well again."

Fanning will face Brett Simpson (USA), 26, and Tiago Pires (PRT), 31, in Round 1 of competition.

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, has been absent for two ASP World Title events, following a rib injury sustained at the Billabong Pro Tahiti. Although leading the 2011 ASP World Title Race prior to the Tahiti event, Smith's subsequent absence from elite competition has seen the powerful South African slip No. 8 on the ASP World Title rankings, but he is excited about his return to the singlet here at the Quiksilver Pro France.

"After several weeks of rehab and sitting out for two events, I'm excited for my return to competition in France," Smith said. "The ribs are still a bit sore when I'm paddling, but it's time for me to be back and hopefully we have good waves for the event here in France."

Smith will battle Kieren Perrow (AUS), 34, and an event wildcard when competition commences.

Also returning to elite level competition this week will be Dane Reynolds (USA), 26. One of the most electrifying surfers on the planet, Reynolds has been sidelined from ASP World Title competition this year by a bevy of injuries, and is hoping a recent rib injury won't hinder his performance too much in France. Reynolds will take on current No. 2 on the ASP World Title rankings, Owen Wright (AUS), 21, and Chris Davidson (AUS), 34, in Round 1 of competition.

Joining Wright in the battle for the 2011 ASP World Title will be fellow frontrunners Kelly Slater (USA), 39, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, and Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24.

Event organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.

When competition commences, up first will be Jeremy Flores (FRA), 23, Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, and Taylor Knox (USA), 40, in Heat 1 of Round 1.

The Quiksilver Pro France will be webcast LIVE via

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Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kieren Perrow (AUS), TBA
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), TBA
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
NOTE: Draw subject to change pending withdrawals.