The QS1,500 Pro Anglet launched today in clean, two-to-three -foot surf at Chambre d'Amour and completed the men's opening round and six out of eight heats of the women's Round One in quality surf.
Coming back from an adductor muscle injury, Vehiatua Prunier was the first surfer to truly show the high-scoring potential in today's conditions, dropping an excellent 8.50 for a combination of snaps and carves on a long running right-hander early this morning. After spending a whole year away from competition, the young Tahitian was stoked to find himself back in a jersey and performing.
"I'm super happy to get back to competing at this level, I was looking forward to that heat and also nervous because Leo [Fioravanti] was in it, but I stayed focused and it went well," he said. "I was patient and my Tahitian mates in the surfers area signaled me that this wave was coming, so I got it and did the job ! We have a great vibe in this group, we're all friends and supporting each other in and out of the water."
Basque Country's Ethan Egiguren secured the day's highest combined heat total, with two excellent scores on the board for his exciting backhand attack on the long left-handers of Chambre d'Amour. The young surfer, who started his year with a good third place result in Israel, has been suffering from a string of bad results since then and will look to keep the momentum going as competition resumes tomorrow.
"I've lost in the first and second rounds a lot lately, so I'm happy to get a good start and hope I can win a few more heats," he reflected. "I'm trying to stay relaxed and be smart in choosing the best waves. Conditions were small but really fun and I like it here, I come here to surf quite often, especially in winter time."
A new face on tour, Joaquin Del Castillo had a great start in Anglet, scoring the day's second-highest heat total. The young Peruvian, who is traveling internationally for his first full year on the Qualifying Series, claimed a first-ever QS win at the Cape Town Pro earlier this season and is steadily climbing the rankings.
"I've done events in the past but mostly in South America, but this year I'm doing the whole tour and I've had success in South Africa and Brazil," he said. "I like the waves here, they're a lot like in my hometown of Punta Hermosa, I've got good boards and am having fun."
Former European Junior Champion Ramzi Boukhiam kept the show going in the afternoon and launched his Anglet campaign with a solid performance to easily advance into the second round. The current QS N°25 capitalized on a late entry to get his equipment dialed and skills sharpened before the top seeds enter the show in the following rounds.
"It's really good to surf the first rounds, I'll get into the rhythm and surf a lot of heats, especially in those fun waves I'm stoked," he stated. "I had a good start this year, but unfortunately even though I felt like I surfed well, I lost early in the first two QS10,000. It didn't affect me too much though, I'm still super motivated, I have a couple things to fix and hopefully I can have good second half of the season."
The women's opening round of competition was mostly marked by the inspiring performance of 15 year-old Australian India Robinson, who absolutely dominated her Round One bout and scored a near-perfect 9-point ride, the highest single-wave score of the day.
"I'm really happy, it was pretty hard at the start but it slowly started to get steeper in the face and heaps cleaner so it got really fun," she commented. "The surfing is next level on the QS, I had a heat against Justine Dupont in Lacanau and she just surfs so good, so strong and powerful and that's the way I want to surf. There are a lot of girls in Australia I look up to, mostly Steph Gilmore, she surfs with such style, it's amazing."
Event officials have convened surfers at 7 a.m. Thursday to try to make full use of the improving conditions and surf before the morning's high tide.
MagicSeaWeed, official forecaster of the World Surf League European Qualifying Series, calls for:
New pulse fills in with waves in the head high range by the afternoon, but increasing onshore sea breeze as the day progresses. As the low pressure system stalls west of Ireland it sends a second pulse of slightly more refined NW swell in the mid sized range normally so well received by the beaches here. Another hot day combined with a small local low pressure system could bring some onshore sea breezes as the afternoon progresses, with fresh onshores by the evening.