EVENT WINDOW: September 25 – October 6, 2014
LOCATION: Landes, South West, France
TIME DIFFERENCE: GMT + 1
WHY FRANCE: Most of the events on the Dream Tour so far have been in classic “island paradise” locales. So what should you expect from the Tour at the sandbars of South West France? The break at Landes is literally picture perfect. Hollywood screenwriter Peter Viertel put the Gascogne (now known as Aquitaine) coast on the map when was filming The Sun Also Rises in 1956. A few years later, Nat Young (AUS) filmed Evolution and Waves of Change, a documentary capturing the green, glassy barrels he discovered at the Bay of Biscay. When guys like Tom Curren (USA) and Gary Elkerton (AUS) set down roots there — Curren in Anglet, Elkerton in Lacanau — it was further established as a choice spot.
THE WAVE: Pounding beachbreak. The main contest break in Hossegor has been known to toss up a 10-to-12-foot face or two when autumn swells arrive. Low-pressure systems start forming up in the North Atlantic and send lines of waves marching straight into French shores. Hossegor has massive tidal swings and offers up some thundering barrels for the world’s best to enjoy. But in September the water starts to chill so break out a 3/2mm fullsuit and a 6’8″ pintail for the powerful waves.
Mick Fanning earned his fourth Quiksilver Pro France title in 2013, making him the most decorated surfer in the event’s 13-year history.
ATTITUDE: Localism and overcrowding go hand-in-hand. But the French, in spite of their Hollywood reputation for being snooty, have nothing but respect and open arms for international surfers. Just do yourself a favor and learn a French phrase or two — once you butcher it they’ll be much more likely to oblige with English of their own.
PRO SURFING’S ARRIVAL: Quiksilver was granted a French ASP World Tour event license in 2001 and the rest is history. Hossegor has wailed during the autumn waiting period annually since its inception, allowing the world’s finest competitors to take advantage of the juicy beachbreaks that France is renowned for the world over. Standout French pros include Mikael Picon, Didier Piter and current World Championship Tour surfer Jeremy Flores.
Cloaked in his country’s flag, Medina put the world on notice when he won his first WCT event in France during his rookie season.
ASP WORLD TOUR HISTORY: At the 2004 event, the Irons brothers met in their first-ever Final against each other. Andy Irons (HAW) took down Bruce that year and claimed his second of three consecutive wins at the event. France played host to Gabriel Medina’s breakout WCT performance. The Brazilian turned heads when he won the contest in 2011, just his second event as an ASP World Tour surfer. Last year, reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) notched an unprecedented fourth victory, making him the most decorated surfer of the event’s 13-year history.
PAST EVENT CHAMPIONS:
2013: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2012: Kelly Slater (USA)
2011: Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2010: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2009: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2008: Adrian Buchan (AUS)
2007: Mick Fanning (AUS)
2006: Joel Parkinson (AUS)
2005: Andy Irons (HAW)
2004: Andy Irons (HAW)
2003: Andy Irons (AUS)
2002: Neco Padaratz (BRA)