France Picks

Shea Lopez on who to pick for the Quik Pro France

John John Florence was a force to be reckoned with at Lowers, and there weren't even barrels there. Photo: Miller

JJF was a force to be reckoned with at Lowers, and you can expect more of the same in his return to France. Photo: Miller

With only three events remaining, France plays a crucial role in deciding this year’s world title race. A win there for Gabriel Medina makes the race a near foregone conclusion, and Brazil would finally be celebrating their much-deserved world champion. There are a few scenarios, however, that would allow for Kelly Slater to take the world title by season’s end. All those scenarios require Slater doing some of the best surfing of his life to stay above the rapidly maturing youth movement poised for takeover. After watching Lowers, I picked a Fantasy Surfer team for the Quik Pro France that I feel can excel in the wide range of conditions on offer at any event there, due to enormous tide changes and varied weather conditions. With swell forecasted from multiple storms circulating the Atlantic at this time, here’s hoping the Top 34 find a wave-park of opportunity along Hossegor’s fabled stretch of sand.

Owen Wright
Market Price: $6,250,000
Lately, Owen has been showing why he would be challenging for a world title if he hadn’t suffered an injury setback. If he continues in his present form, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Owen win one of the remaining three events.

Filipe Toledo
Market Price: $4,250,000
Toledo hits home runs, serves aces, and has been known to get the occasional hole in one. His 9.87 at Lowers was unlike any other combination of moves during the Hurley Pro—a perfect one-two punch from huge, corked out rotation to a blistering, inverted slam off the closeout. Surfing like that is why Filipe is one of the most dangerous competitors on Tour right now.

Julian Wilson
Market Price: $6,250,000
Julian Wilson has been lost but not forgotten among the success of his peers. France suits Julian’s surfing well and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him let loose a little more than he has in his current contest routine.

Nat Young
Market Price: $8,250,000
Nat came on Tour and quickly established a reputation as a powerful surfer with a great competitive act. Crucial experience is being gained at every event as Nat continues his rapid progression to the top.

Sebastian Zietz
Market Price: $4,500,000
If Andy Irons was here, he’d tell me I’d be an idiot not to pick Seabass over all these scrubs in the Top 34. That was the secret to Andy’s success—sheer confidence. Seabass has swagger, but I’m not sure if he has that underlying confidence…yet. When he finds it, he’ll be able to stick it to the top seeds like he is more than capable of doing.

Jordy Smith
Market Price: $9,000,000
Time and time again, consistent effort over time brings the desired result. Jordy’s ability to stay grounded and stick to his game plan at Lowers points to continued competitive refinement and an eventual real charge for a world title.

Gabriel Medina
Market Price: $10,250,000
Gabriel has continued to refine his mastery of the competitive system, and by all accounts looks too calculated, consistent, and strong for anyone or anything to derail him from his track to the world title. There’s always room for improvement, but it’s hard to find fault in the actions that have placed Gabriel well out in front of all challengers. With Medina’s act so well suited to France, he’s likely to make a lot of heats there. If that happens, the world title race realistically becomes a done deal.

John Florence
Market Price: $8,250,000
JJF is clearly the most advanced wave rider in competition today. He was already surfing at a level that most couldn’t begin to comprehend in waves of consequence, but now he’s also added consistency to his performances in lesser waves. John’s seamless rail work blended with contortionist aerials leave even a freak like Slater scratching his head. Today, John is the most dangerous draw in competition, regardless of wave size.

Pick your Fantasy Surfer team now.

Note: Shea Lopez’ picks are based upon what he purchased surfers for earlier in the season, many of whom have increased in market value since. That’ll explain why it adds up to more than a cool $50 million.