The Airwalk Pro Junior resumed on Day 3 in excellent conditions and ran through several rounds of both the Men's and Women's competitions. A tricky forecast for the final day of competition prompted organizers to keep the event going all the way into the evening. Huge scores dropped all day, big names dropped just as often with a total eight surfers in the European Top10 eliminated.
Shane Campbell (AUS) 20, repeated his day 2 heroics, stepping up when really mattered for a spot in the Quarterfinals. Campbell, who advanced discretely through the earlier rounds, blew up in his final heat, belting an incredible 9.50 while already in the lead with two solid scores.
"Usually I'm better on my backhand, but it's good to get the biggest scores on my forehand because I've been working on it for a while," Campbell said. "I was in the lead and thought I'd try to push it, it was one of the best waves of the heat. I had two sections, did a first little check turn and then went big on the second section, I was freefalling and thought I was going to fall but my fins caught and I made it. Then it offered a couple extra little sections for two turns I was stoked."
Andy Criere (FRA) 20, was one of the top scorers as well on Day 3, advancing through two rounds until Campbell put an end to his good run. With an equal 13th in Lacanau, Criere's chances are slim for a top spot come the end of the season.
"Today was a really long day," Criere admitted. "My first heat was great, the second was a lot more complicated. In any other Junior event this season it could have been a final, so I didn't really have a plan of attack I just wanted to surf my best and try to catch the right waves. Conditions have evolved a lot too, we've surfed long lefts this morning and shorter rights later, you just got to adapt to what's available in your heat."
Arthur Lassee (FRA) 17, was responsible for the day's biggest upset, eliminating current rankings leader Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) in the fourth round. With only a few of the region's top surfers still in contention, Lacanau could produce a radical shuffle before the final event in Lanzarote.
"I'm so happy," Lassee said. "I had a to surf a lot of heats from the opening Round and I had a really good rhythm going. My first couple of heats were hard and I finished second even with good scores, and today I won a couple so I'm stoked."
Building up to the final heat of the day, Lassee fired up to put his opponents in a combination situation and walk away with his ticket for the quarters, a career-best result for the young Frenchman, who just re-started competing following a year and a half hiatus.
"I had to concentrate on my studies and I started to get bored too so I just quit for a while," Lassee continued. "I'm super happy to come back and fired up to do good ! In that last heat I got a couple really fun waves despite the bad conditions and I managed to get through. I didn't really have a goal coming here but now I want to go as far as I can for sure!"
Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 19, posted the event's highest single scoring ride, a 9.87 for a combination of powerful gauges on a clean lefthander.
"We got carried outside at the beginning and I noticed the waves were much nicer in the reform," Cloarec said. "So I moved back in and found a couple good waves, it was a good start with a couple of sevens. I was just having fun out there and I got the bomb, a really long and clean wall which let me do a few turns and I got that nine.
In 2014, Nelson's older brother Tom Cloarec (FRA) 21, navigated the ever-impressive Lacanau lineup of athletes to take the overall win.
"There's a really strong field here with the QS next week, but I think it's awesome to have the opportunity to surf against all those different people," he continued.
Cloarec unfortunately couldn't keep his excellent rhythm going into his third heat of the day, falling short of finding any wave with potential in a tense matchup against Tommy Boucaut (FRA), Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) and Luis Diaz (CNY) and had to settle for an equal 13th place result, not helping towards his title race.
Tessa Thyssen (BLM) 18, former runner-up at the World Juniors and full-time QS campaigner this season, stole the women's show with an incredible 18.17 heat total in Heat 6, including a near-perfect wave scored 9.50 out of 10. Despite an ankle injury sustained while preparing for an event in El Salvador, Thyssen looked on point on her forehand and secured the day's biggest performance.
"I'm not really sure what happened, but I had a bit of a rough landing after a roller in El Salvador, so I'm trying not to push it and make things more serious," Thyssen explained. "I was extremely lucky to find those waves, I had the two bombs! I guess it's just right place at the right time in that heat and I'm super happy it worked out for me."
Local hero Juliette Brice (FRA) 16, was the first surfer to crack the excellent range in the morning with an 8-point ride in the clean powerful surf at high tide. Coming off a runner-up result in Sopela, Brice was brimming with confidence and managed to find the right waves in a moving lineup.
"It was cool we had some great waves this morning," Brice said. "It was a bit tricky to find the right ones and the paddle out was a bit of a workout but it was good. The banks have moved a lot these last few days and unfortunately I couldn't really play the local knowledge card, but I felt good anyway and I had fun. I want to do well here and I already have a bad result this season so I'll focus on making a few more heats tomorrow."
The event will resume Sunday at 7:30 a.m. to potentially crown the event champions early in the afternoon.