France has some of the most notorious and sought-after waves in the world. Thanks to its 2,130 miles of coastlines and 310 miles of surf beaches, it’s no wonder many surfers look to venture there and hit the roaring waves.
Places like Hossegor and Lacanau have drawn plenty of attention as top places to surf, while Lacanau is the host of an annual major competition known for its fierce westerly swells and sweeping vantage points.
The French are known for their passion for wine, fine food, immaculate beach resorts, and surfing? Absolutely, some of the best wave gliders and longboarders hail from France. So who’s who in French surfing?
Top Choice: Jeremy Flores
Jeremy Flores is evolving into a status of a French version Kelly Slater. He is fierce, explosive and outspoken. Oh, and he’s very good at surfing.
Flores hails from Hossegor, France, one of the most prominent spots to surf in France. It’s no wonder he started scaling a board at the age of 3. Since then, Flores hasn’t looked back.
He’s considered one of the best barrel riders the world has to offer. Flores took to Australia and Hawaii to develop his surfing career, and it turned out to be a wise move.
In 2007, Flores turned pro and notched out top honors for Rookie of the Year by World Surfing League. Since, he’s won major runs like Billabong Pipeline Masters in 2010, which took place in Hawaii. He repeated that competition again in 2017 defeating top-ranked, John Florence.
In 2017, according to WSL standards, Flores is ranked 15th overall among men.
A Rising Star: Justine Dupont
A legend in the junior circuit, Justine Dupont has quickly emerged as one of the rising phenoms of French surfing.
The 26-year-old is highly regarded as one of the world’s best female big wave surfers around. So much, that she has been credited for breaking her own big wave surfing records.
Dupont was crowned an ISA World Team Surfing Champion with the French team. Her other noteworthy accolades are Aloha Cup World Champion, 2nd in WSL Big Wave World Championship, winner of 2006,07’,08’10’ National Longboard Championship and 2011’s European Surf champion.
Dupont says she has high hopes for women’s surfing and hopes to continue her impressive surfing performances in 2018.
Last on our featured list is a big star in female’s surfing, Johanne Defay. Defay started early, when she started surfing at the ripe age of 8 and competing at the age of 10. From surf-friendly Le Puy en Velay, Auvergne, France, off the beaches of Reunion Island like fellow French star, Jeremy Flores.
Winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2014, Defay is known for her persistence and ambition to be the best in the female circuit.
Since she had her first major victory at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing in 2015 and winning the Fiji Women Pro in 2016.
Sponsored by Wakanda, Defay continues to build on her brand appeal, while earning $669,722 in career winnings. She is ranked 9th in Championship Tour (CT) and 1st in the 2017 qualifying series. She is only 24.
Honorable Mentions And Final Word
Aside from Flores, Defay and Dupont, Pauline Ado and veteran Frenchman, Joan Duru, are two worthy surfers of the “who’s who” list.
Duru was the first Frenchman in 27 years to win at Lacanau at the age of 20 years old, while Ado was the first non-Australian to win the 2009 Junior World Championship.
Each surfing star on this list represents their respective country well and is continuing to show the why France is a major household name in the surfing world.