1. Watching Courtney Conlogue live. The back to back Swatch Girls Pro France winner and potential ASP Women’s World Title winning surfer was on super good form. She scored a perfect ten in the earlier rounds and surfed with a explosive raw power that was awesome to watch. In the final, when she coped with the crazy currents by riding the waves in then running down the beach to paddle back out, she looked every bit the track and field star that she was before she focused on surfing.
2. And on good waves too. Especially on the final day as the shot above and this video shows.
As the dude standing next to me in the crowd [and Coco Ho in this interview] said: “It would be sweet to see Carissa Moore and the girls surfing these waves every contest.”
3. In a cool setting. Endless beach as far as the eye can see, dramatic dunes, pines, even a mellow skate bowl and retro water park on view as you drive in, Le Penon beach in Seignosse is a sick place to host a contest.
4. With big crowds. Even at 8am on a Sunday when the semis kicked off. The kind I’m more used to seeing in shots of Pipeline or for men’s contests and all there for the surfing (not that all the frothers at the US Open around Alana Blanchard weren’t but you know what I mean…). Plus there was cheering after each wave which all the surfers found especially motivating. Especially for Reunion Isles (and therefore French) surfer Johanne Defay who surfed a marathon session as she was surfing in the ASP Pro Junior Title Final in between her semi and final for the 6*WQS Swatch Pro event.
5. And a good vibe on site and in town. The French are classy. End of. At no point during the contest or the Friday night concert on the beach in town with an awesome sound system and massive crowds until 1am (above) did things get remotely sketchy a la Huntington Beach at the recent US Open. And you could not have been less likely to see girls writing anything approaching this on their bodies either. We did see a couple passed out on a bench one morning, though they looked pretty cute and comfortable so they get points instead.
6. The fashion. There were some sweet outfits on show at the contest site, some of which you can see above, few of which I captured footless on my iPhone. There should have been more but my phone run out of battery twice, looking forward to the days when we can just download that shit from our minds.
7. The presenters. If you watched the webcast you’ll have enjoyed Swatch team riders Kassia Meador and Anne Flore Marxer presenting. Both are awesome. We especially liked Kassia’s daily shred-o-meter clips on the best waves and AFM’s legendary party skillz. The photo above is from Lorene Carpentier’s instagram, go follow her.
Massive big ups to Swatch for putting on such a rad event and supporting women’s surfing in such a crucial way at such a crucial time. For more on the contest head here.
And a further shout out to Coco Ho a true pro who in 7 minutes gave me more killer quotes than you normally get in a 40 minute interview! You can read some of them here in her My Hero interview.
The WCT girls move on to Portugal now, while Courtney Conlogue and Malia Manuel (who lost to Courtney in the semi) plus Laura Enever, Paige Hareb and Coco Ho (who all lost here in earlier rounds) await the rescheduled Roxy Pro here in Hossegor next month.