It's been a historically weird year for the Women's CT. There's been seven different winners through eight events so far. Sage Erickson and Nikki Van Dijk nabbed their first career victories on the highest level, while Carissa Moore has yet to win an event for the first time since 2012.
With only two contests remaining, the World Title race is still wide open, especially now that Tyler Wright has sustained an MCL injury.
Wright has owned this event over the last half-decade, winning it twice with five Finals appearances. The last time she missed a Final was 2011. Her domination is strikingly similar to Gabriel Medina's run in France on the Men's side.
While Wright is still slated to surf, she hasn't looked the same, so betting on her this time is risky. Meanwhile, Jeep Leader Sally Fitzgibbons certainly isn't. It's hard to call France Sally's bugaboo being that she won the event in 2013, but it clearly has haunted her in the past. Sally's lost ground here in the Title race to eventual champions Carissa Moore in 2011/15 and Steph Gilmore in 2012/14. Her Average Heat Score (13.5) and Heat Win Percentage (58%) is only good for 5th amongst current women on Tour.
Sally's main competition heading into France sits with California's Courtney Conlogue who is trying to break the 20 year drought since Lisa Andersen last won a World Title for the Mainland United States, back in 1997.
Courtney is the only female with two wins this year. Her problem is that she already has three throwaway results, which means no matter how well she finishes, Courtney will keep a 9th in her final score line. Sally on the other hand, is currently throwing away two 5ths.
Courtney's average finish in France (4.8th) is similar to Sally's (5th), but she's yet to put a win on the board. Their AHS and HWP are almost identical so it will come down to who performs best in the clutch.
Tier B has some potential World Title challengers, but they're playing catch-up.
Sage Erickson still finds herself in the World Title conversation but it won't mean much if she doesn't perform now. Luckily, this has been historically one of Sage's better events. She's made the Quarterfinals in three of her four attempts. That's a good sign because her AHS this year (12.5) is nearly a full point better than her previous AHS in France (11.54).
Carissa Moore would probably be happy to put this year behind her, however she enters the final two events with a chance to wash that bad taste out of her mouth. Coming off her best result of the year with a runner-up in Portugal, Carissa has been steady as can be in France. She took the win over Tyler Wright in 2016 (surfing arguable buzzed in the Final after she clinched her 1st World Title), and Riss finished 3rd in the four straight years prior. She owns the highest AHS at 14.31.
Another Tier B commodity could be Tatiana Weston-Webb. While she's only surfed the Roxy Pro France twice in her young career, Tati has a 2nd and 3rd to show for it. That pairs nicely with her 3rd in AHS (14.07) and HWP (70%).
Although lately it hasn't been her pet event, Steph Gilmore can always be considered as a threat. The last time she won in France was 2012, which also happens to be the last time they ran the event in Biarritz. Since the move to Hossegor, Steph hasn't surpassed the Quarterfinals, but she still owns the most Excellent Heats in France with 11.
For being late into the season, Tier C has some legitimate potential.
Malia Manuel proved she is working back to health after her MCL tear in Margaret River. She finished 3rd in the Cascais Women's Pro earlier this week.
Coco Ho has the highest average finish out of this bracket at 7.8th and the 10th best AHS at 12.26. She also won two QS events in Europe earlier this season.
Pauline Ado owns the local's knowledge advantage and has surfed in this event six times, which is tied for second after Steph Gilmore.
The Roxy Pro France wildcard goes to Caroline Marks, who looks to be the youngest surfer (man or woman) to ever qualify for the Championship Tour at age 15. Get used to seeing that name because people have already compared her to Carissa Moore.
Make sure to finalize your picks soon because the Roxy Pro France is due to start on Saturday!