While France may be known for its delicious cheese and decadent pastries it happens to be a hotbed for some of Europe’s best surfing talent.
From competitive surfing to big wave charging, French surfers have made their mark on the surfing world and they don’t show any sign of slowing down.
Let’s meet nine of France’s most influential shredders and learn a bit more about their fascinating lives around the ocean.
9 Famous French Surfers Who Made Their Mark on The Sport
Let’s take a look at some of European surfing’s most famous faces.
Flores was somewhat of a surfing prodigy in his early years. He joined a host of other global talents like Ry Carike and Dane Reynolds to make up Quicksilver’s first Young Guns.
He was born on April 27, 1988, on Reunion Island, France, an area that is just as well known for its shark attacks as it’s surfing but that’s another story.
He spent lots of time on the quality beach breaks that litter the south of France and he’s known for his proficiency in big waves and his ability to navigate the most challenging of conditions.
Flores’ favourite surf spot is Teahupo’o, a legendary reef pass in Tahiti that is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous waves.
He hit the world tour with a bang and managed to secure an 8th-place freshman finish and the Rookie Of The Year award at the age of 18.
Over the course of his career, Flores has secured multiple victories in surfing competitions, including the Billabong Pipe Masters in 2010 and the Quiksilver Pro France in 2019.
He also represented France in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where he secured a 9th-place finish.
Flores has been sponsored by some of the biggest names in surfing, including Quiksilver, Red Bull, FCS, and Gorilla Grip.
Today, Jeremy Flores is still one of the most famous french surfers and a hero for many of his fellow countrymen.
Justine Dupont is a professional surfer hailing from Lacanau, a surfing-centred town in Southern France.
Born on November 28, 1991, in Bordeaux, Dupont began surfing when she was 11 and moved to the surf-centred town of Lacanau in Southern France.
She’s equally proficient in big wave surfing, shortboarding, and longboarding, and is one of the few women in the world to take on Nazaré, a notorious big wave break in Portugal where she has set multiple records and truly pushed the limits of women’s surfing,
Over the course of her career, Dupont has secured multiple victories on the Big Wave Tour and the Longboard World Championships.
Perhaps her biggest accolade is being the first female surfer to win the Nazaré Tow Challenge where surfers use a combination of jetskis and tow boards to try and catch the biggest wave possible.
Today, Justine Dupont spends most of her time travelling the world in search of great places and perfect waves.
Johanne Defay was born in 1993 in Saint-Leu, Reunion Island, she started to surf at 8 years old.
Defay began competing in local contests and by the age of 10 she’d already won her first event.
Defay made her debut on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour in 2014 and quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with.
In 2015, she won the prestigious Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, solidifying her status as a top contender in the women’s division and gaining her global fame.
Since then, Defay has continued to excel on the world tour, consistently finishing in the top 10 of the WSL Championship Tour rankings.
Off the water, Defay is passionate about fitness and healthy living. She often shares her workouts and healthy recipes with her fans on social media.
With her talent and determination, we really wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a world title in the very near future.
Bourez is a French surfer born on December 30, 1985, in Rurutu, French Polynesia. His powerful carves and wraps and fluid style make him one of the most popular surfers to watch on large open walls.
He’s one of the very lucky few that get to call the iconic reef pass of Teahupo’o his local break and it really shows when you watch this guy in waves of consequence.
Bourez competed on the CT from 2009 and won multiple CT events, including the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia and the Rio Pro in Brazil in 2014 followed by the coveted Billabong Pipe Masters in 2016.
He was one of the few surfers on tour to stick to Firewire boards which looked magic under his feet and allowed him to perform some seriously powerful hacks on waves of any size.
Personally, I love watching Michel surf, with a combination of Taylor Knox’s technique and Jordy Smith’s sheer power it really is something to behold.
Joan Duru is one of France’s top pro surfers. Born on April 12, 1989, in Bayonne, France, Duru has been surfing since he was a very young child.
He learned to surf in France’s surfing capital Hossegor, a world-renowned set of beach breaks on the southwest coast of France.
Over the course of his career, Duru has secured multiple victories in surfing competitions, including the QS1000 Zarautz Pro in 2008, the QS6000 Vans US Open of Surfing in 2017, and the ISA World Surfing Games in 2017 as well.
He currently stands as the injury replacement for the 2023 WCT tour where he just secured a 9th-place finish at the MEO Rip Curl Portugal Pro.
Today, Joan Duru remains one of France’s top surfers and a respected figure in the global surfing community.
Marc Lacomare is a tube hound and an all-around great guy from the southwest of France. Born on October 28, 1990, in Bayonne, Lacomare began surfing at the age of 6 on the waves around his hometown.
Lacomare’s favourite surf spot is La Graviere, a powerful beach break in Hossegor where wide barrels break just metres from the shore making for a hell of a spectacle.
Over the course of his career, Lacomare has competed in some of the biggest surfing events in the world, including the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour.
He’s had multiple victories in regional surf contests and represented his country at the ISA World Surfing Games.
Lacomare’s been backed by Quicksilver for most of his surfing career and you’ll often find him modelling their latest range of wetsuits.
I’m slightly biased (as a goofy myself) but I love watching Marc surf, he’s got a solid technique and lots of similarities to Julian Wilson another favourite surfer of mine.
Maud Le Car
Maud Le Car is a talented French surfer born in Saint-Martin, French West Indies. Her love for surfing started at a young age, and by the time she was a teenager, she was already competing in local and national surf competitions in France.
With her natural talent and dedication, Maud quickly made a name for herself in the surfing world competing in several events on the World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour.
When she’s not surfing Maud is working on her painting skills or uploading to her popular YouTube channel “Follow The Maud“,
Maud is an advocate for environmental issues and is passionate about protecting the oceans and marine life.
She works closely with organizations that focus on ocean conservation and has spoken out about the need for sustainable practices in the surfing industry.
As a surfer and environmentalist, Maud Le Car is exactly what we need right now and she continues to do great work to protect the oceans we all love.
Miky Picon is one of the most accomplished surfers to come out of France. Born on March 4, 1979, in Seignosse, Landes, he grew up surrounded by some of the best surf breaks the country has to offer.
Picon quickly developed a passion for the sport and began competing in local comps.
Over the course of his 12-year career on the ASP World Tour, Picon achieved numerous accomplishments, including winning the prestigious Quiksilver Pro France event in 2001, and becoming the first French surfer to do so.
Off the water, Picon went on to support competitive surfing in any way he could including taking up the role of director for several of the Quicksilver Pro France events.
Pauline Ado grew up in Hendaye, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France. Born on February 8, 1991, she grew up in the perfect location to surf with just a short drive to the Basque Country’s premier point break Mundaka.
Ado started competing at the age of 14 and quickly made a name for herself on the junior circuit.
In 2008, she was the first European to win the ASP World Junior Title, cementing her status as one of the most promising surfers of her generation.
Ado then made the transition to the elite level, competing on the ASP (soon to be WSL) Women’s World Tour from 2011 to 2018.
During her time on tour, she had multiple top-10 finishes and came runner-up at the Los Cabos Open of Surf in 2014.
Pauline is also the proud owner of an Olympic Bronze medal and one of very few who hold that honour.
Off the water, Ado is a vocal advocate for gender equality in surfing and has been a leading voice in the fight for equal pay and recognition for women in the sport.