Viva La France!!!

By BASN Wire Services
Updated: June 30, 2009

COSTA RICA — The French Surfing Federation has announced that two of their best surfers, ASP World Tour top 45, Jeremy Flores and Mikael Picon will join their team during the upcoming Billabong ISA World Surfing Games taking place in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica, from August 1-8.

By acquiring two of the best surfers in the world, France has set the standard for the rest of the international field. Will other surfing power nations follow suit? Are we going to see Kelly Slater, Bobby Martínez, CJ Hobgood and Dane Reynolds support the USA?

Will we see Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning and Bede Durbidge defending Australia? Will Andy Irons, Bruce Irons, Fred Patacchia and Kekoa Bacalso join Team Hawaii? Can Adriano de Souza, Heitor Alves, Jihad Kohdr and Jadson André help Brazil repeat their 2000 win?

The announcement of Flores and Picon to the French National Team, made by Patrick Flores, coach of the French team and Jeremy’s father, is a strong statement indicating the serious attempt France is mounting to finally achieve the Gold Medal in Team Standings.

Over the last decade, France has always placed in the top ten at the ISA World Surfing Games: 4th in 2008 at Costa de Caparica, Portugal, 6th in 2006 at Huntington Beach, USA, 7th in 2004 at Salinas, Ecuador, 4th in 2002 at Durban, South Africa, 5th in 2000 at Maracaípe, Brazil, 5th in 1998 at Carcavelos, Portugal and 6th in 1996 at Huntington Beach, USA.

This year they’re looking forward to more than Copper Medal results as obtained in Portugal and South Africa. Surf stars like Jeremy Flores and Micky Picon significantly help their chances.

Flores, 21, a Copper medallist in the 2006 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in the Under 18 division, is currently rated 17th in the ASP World Tour. Flores made his Top 45 debut after winning the 2006 WQS.

In 2007 he placed 8th and was named the ASP Rookie of the year.

One year later, he proved again to be a world class surfer by placing 10th.

Picon, 30, already competed in several ISA events, in both Junior and Open division, always placing in the top 20. After years of trying, he successfully made it to the ASP World Tour in 2006, ending the year as the highest rated European.

Last year he placed 21st, the best result of his career.

In the struggle to get the Gold Medal on the Overall Team Standings, the top surfing nations have showed a great effort to have ASP World Tour surfers in their national teams.

Last year’s final four surfers in the ISA World Surfing Games in Costa de Caparica, Portugal, included three Top 45 surfers: 2001 World Champ CJ Hobgood won the Gold Medal, while his Aussies tour colleagues, Dayyan Neve and Kai Otton won Bronze and Copper respectively.

Australia, the country with the greatest number of ASP World Tour surfers competing in the 2008 ISA World Surfing Games, won the Gold Medal in the Overall Team Standings.

Of the last seven World Surfing Games, Australia has won four. It is clear that the ASP pros helped Australia’s results. Will other nations bring their stars? With the addition of ASP stars from and countries like France, it could be a whole new game in 2009.