Jimmicane’s Passion Picks: 2014 Quiksilver Pro France

ASP passion picks-france2014Nowhere is more of an unknown from a conditions standpoint than France. It might be howling offshore, 8-10 feet and look like Sunset beach. It could be head high lefts breaking a half mile out, or double over head, heaving barrels 20 feet from the shore at La Graviere. --Jimmicane

The Elite
Gabriel Medina
He should've won here last year but the judges were ​stuck in a 1990's "three to the beach wins" mentality. Somehow, judges are still clueless when assigning points to airs (example: Kelly's 8.5 for that wacky whitewater rafting episode at Lowers). I don't think anything can stop Freak Boy here though. His wave catching ability is from another planet and falling is a rarity, so good luck picking against 2014’s future World Champ.

John Florence
Jordy won the final at Trestles but Johnny was clearly the surfer of the event. After a 3rd and 2nd in back-to-back events, it seems like the confidence is building and that means danger ahead for the final three events of 2014. ​Anything can happen on the WSL (World Spray League) but have you noticed Johnny's turns lately? Not spraying himself nearly as much. He's confining to the taste of the men punching numbers without sacrificing any of his creativity, which is worlds beyond any surfer on tour.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Joel Parkinson
Other than Kelly, he's had the most consistent year but I feel like someone is sneaking melatonin in my drink when he surfs a heat. So smooth and graceful, yet boring as watching a meal defrost in a microwave. Due for a bad result I think.

The Grinders
Kolohe Andino
Kolohe has to be my favorite person on the WCT right now. He's 20 years old and passing through that period in life where you just go gigantic. At Laura Enever's San Clemente rental house where she hosted the unofficial Hurley Pro after party, Brother was a human tornado. At one point, he threw everything within reach into the pool, then rushed Gabriel Medina and screamed "Fuck Brazil!" just inches from his face. Before commenters unleash jiu-jitsu death threats and what not, consider that earlier in the night they were bro-ing down hard, and are mutual friends. It was all in good fun. Kolohe was just being hilarious and out of control. Did I mention he kills at beachbreaks?

Ace Buchan
People might forget, but Ace has won two career events on tour. Both in finals against Kelly Slater, and one of them was here. After a 5th in Tahiti and 3rd at Trestles... he's playing a hot hand right now.

Julian Wilson
It just doesn't make sense for Julian to be ranked 17th in the world. I keep picking him and he keeps losing so I'm not going to give up now and watch as he finally breaks out. It's not if, but when that will happen.

Filipe Toledo
He's lightning in a bottle every other heat, but Filipe better figure out how to string a few together or he'll be using the WQS as his means to re-qualify for 2015. I can't keep him off my team simply because of that ally-oop he stuck last year. More of that please.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Matt Wilkinson
If you thought Jordy Smith was a bone-head in heats, enter Matt Wilkinson. In a wave-starved Round 2 at Lowers he waited 20 minutes with priority only to use it on the worst wave ever, leaving Kai Otton out the back needing a 1.67. It was sad and led to a frenzy of board punches, and, eventually, door punches inside the locker room.

The Strugglers
Adam Melling
The poor-man's Mick Fanning has a chance out here. It's one of the event locations that most resembles being on the WQS and Melling lives off the WQS.

Brett Simpson
This is where you look to the heat draw. Nothing is easy about any heat on tour, but Brett matches up with Michel and Seabass in Round 1. Both can lack consistency at times and Brett is a very good beachbreak surfer.

I'm skeptical of picking...
Raoni Monterio

I'm not sure if he's injured or what's going on, but I would say Raoni's surfing at Lowers during freesurfs and in the Hurley Pro was collectively terrible. He would've struggled to make heats in the U18 division at US Champs. Raoni is dangerously close to pulling the second ever defeated season, joining a very lonely Ricky Basnett. He's 0-14 in heats so far with six more chances to steal one.