The Martinique Surf Pro, first-ever World Surf League QS event in Martinique launched in playful 2-to-3 foot surf at the righthand pointbreak of Basse-Pointe. Day one offered over eight hours of red-hot action in the lineup featuring both local surfers and international professional athletes.
France's Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 24, took top honors on the opening day, netting two near-perfect scores for an impressive 18.60 combined heat total. The powerful regular-footer tore apart the punchy righthanders on offer and put on a clinic for the crowds watching the action from the rocky point.
"I mostly just tried to find the right spot to sit out there," Guilbaud said. "It's not that easy, with the low tide the peak moved further outside but I was looking for the ones that build in the inside and offer a good wall."
Opting to sit apart from the pack, Guilbaud found the best waves of the heat and performed his surgical forehand attack to build momentum and score on the very top of the 10-point scale.
"I was lucky enough to get some good powerful sections out the back and navigated through the flats to maximize my scoring potential on those waves," Guilbaud continued. "It's really cool to have everyone sit there on the point and hear them get excited about the waves. That's my first time here and I'm loving it so far, the people are awesome and we've enjoyed the local food as well."
Alan Donato (BRA) 29, came in a close third on the top heat totals with a solid 17.37. Supported by the large Brazilian contingent and feeding off the performances of his fellow countrymen, Donato continued the South American assault on day one.
"I'm so happy now that I made this first heat," Donato said. "I got a good wave right at the start thankfully, and now I'll be getting ready for the next round hoping to do even better. There's been some great heats today, everyone's ripping! "
Renato Galvao (BRA) 33, powered his way onto the best-waves list with his incredible 9.50 out of a possible 10. The Brazilian veteran played the situation smartly and selected the best equipment for the conditions on hand.
"I was a bit nervous at first 'cause I decided to change my board right before the heat," Galvao stated. "I tried several boards since I arrived here in Martinique four days ago, and I knew this one was right for today's conditions. I got the bomb and with a shorter board I was able to fit turns right in the power section of the wave, so I'm stoked it paid out. It's the Filipe Toledo model from Sharp Eye, it works!"
Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) 23, made the Caribbean proud, winning his two heats today in convincing form. The Saint-Barthelemy surfer adapted to the changing conditions and capitalized on home-court advantage.
"We were in the very first heat of the day and the event, so it's always tough for everyone to get the ball rolling," Ouvre explained. "All the overseas French territories have a sense of solidarity, we're not exactly neighbors but there's definitely some sort of team spirit going on. I've come here a lot to Martinique when I was younger and I really enjoy surfing fun waves here in warm waters."
Ouvre, who toured the European Junior Series for several years, has been out of the WSL radar for a while and is looking to make a triumphant return to competition in Martinique. The young goofyfooter rekindled his competitive fire over a two-year hiatus and will be a force to be reckoned with when the event recommences.
"I spent the last couple of years freesurfing mostly for my sponsor and I kind of lost myself along the way," Ouvre continued. "I want to get back into the events seriously and focus on trying to build a ranking, to make the big events and get a shot at the qualification someday."
Ian Gentil (HAW) 19, rounded out the day's top action with an impressive 18.20 on his way to qualify for the third round of competition.
Organizers and surfers will reconvene on Wednesday at 7AM local time to make a call for Day 2 of competition.