What's the phrase I'm searching for? Déjà vu? Yeah, that's it. Feels like we've been here, done this. But we haven't. The last time, it was Biarritz, which -- with all due respect -- is certainly no Hossegor when it comes to surf. Just like July is no September. And a tight world title race is no tight world title race. If you know what I mean.
This time 'round, Carissa Moore's leading the pack, which has officially been pared to just four contenders since the U.S. Open in July. If the 21-year-old Hawaiian wins the Roxy Pro, only Aussie powerhouse Tyler Wright can stop her from clenching her second world title. A noteworthy factoid: Moore claimed her first title and became the youngest ASP women's world champion in history at the Roxy Pro Biarritz in 2011. Nonetheless, Wright insists that she doesn't have a voodoo doll with Moore's face on it, and she's approaching the comp as she usually does: with positivity.
"Even though there was no swell on our last trip to France, I am really looking forward to getting back there," Wright says. "I had such a good time racing on stand-up paddle boards, paddling canoes, and riding horses. It will be good to throw in some surfing this time around -- and some Nutella crêpes. The French know how to do dessert! Carissa has had an amazing year. She is one of the most genuine and kind people I know. I'm hoping Hossegor will turn it on for all of us."
The other two title hopefuls are Sally Fitzgibbons and Courtney Conlogue. Conlogue was runner-up at the US Open and went on to win the Swatch Girls' Pro last month, which was also in Hossegor, so she's definitely comfortable there. All four love charging hollow, powerful waves, which Hossegor is certainly capable of providing.
I stand by my previous picks for standout performers -- Pauline Ado, in particular. The Frenchwoman took third-place finishes at the U.S. Open and Supergirl Pro in California, then followed up with a fifth at the Pantin Classic in Spain later in August.
The "mulligan" Roxy Pro France will run (we hope) from September 24-30. The forecast from Tuesday onwards looks solid, with two-to-three foot, long period swells hanging around for at least the first few days.
The last time the ladies had a CT event in Hossegor was in 2008 (the Rip Curl Pro Mademoiselle) and that was also during hurricane season. Steph Gilmore won it with barrels in similar conditions to those predicted for next week. Gilmore may be out of the title race, but that doesn't mean she's out of the picture. She could easily take out this event.
Watch it live at Roxylive.com.