Surf: Fun, tide dependent left sandbar.
Events held: Mens round one (over two days due extremetides).
Nature’s call: Very temperamental.
Predicted: 70 MPH gale force wind (according to theEuropean weather service).
The southwest coast of France has a subtle and enthralling magic. It’s the land of the shifting sandbar, the place where the pleasant scents of forest and ocean mix into something that smells of change. That aroma must be strong in the lineup at Plage les Bourdaines, because during Round One at this year’s Quiksilver Pro France, stop No. 8 on this fun-filled ASP World Championship Tour, change is what they got. From Andy’s first-heat shocker to the three French wildcards’ strong mission statements, this two-event Euro leg could prove to be the much-anticipated turning point in this year’s tour.But more on that as the event progresses. After all, no one’s lost yet. For now, let’s look at the first-heat performances that formed like a flawless, two-way Hossegor bank, and a few that fell flat:

1.Aussie upstart, Luke Stedman, utilizing an outbound tide, watched the wedging left transform to a tapering right and scored his biggest heat win to date. A month after nearly waxing Slates at Trestles, he put his 6’1″ Beschen-like frame into two over-eight ringers to put a combo to both Cory Lopez (Hero) and Trent Munro (Destroyer of this summer’s Euro QS leg). It was his first official combo as well, of which he said, “Oh, it’s amazing — one for the record books, for sure.”2.Paulo Moura is a talented power surfer from Brazil; strong in big or small, but hardly what you’d call a superstar. Mick Fanning is. When they met up, plus local wildcard, Mikey Picon, you can guess who the favorite was. But towards max high-tide this was to be Paulo’s time to shine, by calculation and little flaw he’d wind up a right for 8.9 and enough to stomp out Fanning on a crucial lefthand error (he pearled). Afterward, the Brazilian, being one giant smile, put it this way, “I love it; with everyone pushing so hard–I have to give it my all!” Fanning, looking to Round Two, was real simple, “I’m pissed.”