MAXIME HUSCENOT, 22: FAIR TO SLIM CHANCE
Strengths: A precise, versatile surfer, with flourishes of extra rad.
Weaknesses: Could do with a bit more devil about him… less Federer more McEnroe.
For a long time Maxime was considered something of a dark horse, but now is more of just a horse. Having had a highly respectable junior career (including a World Title in 2012), he now needs to step up in the mens, come out of his shell and deliver. His repertoire has pretty much everything in abudance, as evidenced in his latest video edits, the next step would be to regain some of the ice cold heat strategy he showed as a grom.
No more Mr Nice Guy, lots more Mr Gnarly Cunt
To Draw in a Heat. “I’m feeling great about this season, I hope this is going to be my year” he said recently.
So do we.
RAMZI BOUKHIAM, 21: SLIM TO FAIR CHANCE
Strengths: Fierce backside, relishes competing.
Weaknesses: On his forehand he sometimes looks a bit… gangly.
Not that many Euros can say they’ve won a six-star as a teen, something that’s given Ramzi confidence that others have lacked historically. He has all the ingredients to make the qualification grade – except experience at some venues – and seeing Marco get close last year would have given him further relish for the task and self-belief, something he needs to draw upon to come back stronger from a silly Bali motorbike mishap that saw him out of the water for months this winter.
That belief in his own ability, combined with a fondness for surfing heats akin to a young Flores could be ideal combination to see the lad step up on to the tour and go mad.
Or, he could just disappear forever like Abdel El Harim.