The Caraïbos Lacanau Pro continued today and ran a full day of competition to determine the event's Quarterfinalists in fun two-to-three foot surf.
But the fans today were all waiting for the same thing, the opportunity to mingle and get a shirt, poster or hat signed by legends of our sport, namely Gary ‘Kong' Elkerton, Tom Curren and Flavio Padaratz, who were invited to come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Lacanau event.
Australian Gary ‘Kong' Elkerton, runner-up in the world in 1987 and 1990 and a former resident of Lacanau, was first to praise the importance of the event in the history of professional surfing in France and in his personal life.
"I first came here in 1983 in my first year as a professional and never left cause I ended up marrying a woman from Bordeaux and living here for about twenty years," he said. "I haven't come here in 18 years and I can't believe how much it's progressed, with this huge site and the skatepark and all that. It used to be just a couple of tents on the dirt right here. Lacanau literally opened our eyes to France and how good the surf is here. When I came back here two days ago I was crying, just to see my all friends was very emotional, Lacanau is like a second home to me."
Three-time World Champion Tom Curren had a very specific memory to share, which probably hasn't changed much in the years past since he'd last been in Lacanau.
"One thing I remember from competing here, if you're surfing on the final Sunday you have to go stay further away from the beachfront because the Saturday night party gets wild and you couldn't get much sleep," he explained.
For the 2002 Lacanau Pro winner Flavio Padaratz, the event held a special place in his heart as well, as his last victory on tour before retiring from professional surfing the same year.
"I remember in 2002 when I came here, I had just recovered from Malaria, which I caught in Indonesia and nearly died there," he told us. "Some doctors told me I couldn't ever surf again after this and coming back to compete and to win here was as special as it gets."
Curren, Padaratz and two-time World Champion Tom Carroll will take part in a ‘Legends Expression Session' on Sunday before the event Finals. Elkerton unfortunately had to withdraw from the surf citing a little injury sustained before coming to Lacanau.
In this year's QS event, most top seeds made it through to the Quarters, with a new crop of young and talented surfers claiming their spots as well. Reigning winner Zahli Kelly advanced convincingly and will be a favorite for the final win when the event continues. In the men's draw, current QS No. 1 Jorgann Couzinet lead the field into the Quarters as well, in an event he has come close to but never won.
Competitors have a newt call at 8:15 a.m Saturday morning to potentially run the Quarterfinals.
Tune in from August 13-18, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!