Carmichael and Marc Lacomare put on a great show in the final, exchanging good waves for the entire duration of their matchup. Lacomare was first to take action with a good 7.17 on his opening ride, while Carmichael was warming up on less significant waves.
The Australian took an option for the win with a similar 7.27 on a combination of two powerful backhand gauges halfway through the heat, pushing his opponent to look for another big score. The two surfers selected similar running lefts and displayed a regular vs. goofy battle to entertain the weekend crowds.
In the last moments of the final, Carmichael held priority as the biggest wave of the heat rolled through the lineup, giving him an opportunity to perform his sharp backhand turns for a 9.23 and a final nail in Lacomare's coffin. The Australian clinches his second QS win this season and builds on his QS ranking.
"We ended up having a little left wedge and we both got scores, there were plenty of waves so it was a fun final," he stated. "I've been working on my boards a lot for this kind of conditions cause a lot of the QS are run in small waves, so JR and I have been developing this really fast board and it works great. My goal was to get a couple heats under my belt and get a bit of confidence before the next three big events."
A semifinalist in Lacanau, Lacomare continued his excellent run this week in Anglet with a runner-up finish today to build momentum heading into the QS6,000 Pantin Classic Galicia Pro next week. The talented Frenchman collected excellent scores on his road to the final and fell just short of finding a good-enough wave to challenge Carmichael in their battle.
"We knew it was going to be tough with the high tide and the fading swell," he reflected. "I made a little error taking a little right, and it cost me the priority for when that really good wave came through. I only needed a 7 so who knows if I got that wave maybe things would have been different. I'm super happy with my surfing here though, I have a good rhythm going and the next three events will be super important so I'll focus on that."
The Australia vs. New Zealand battle in the final, opposing Bevilacqua to Ella Williams was unfortunately cut short as the ocean failed to deliver enough scoring opportunities for both surfers. Bevilacqua had quickly caught a couple of good little waves early on and walked away with her second win in the European leg after clinching the Boardmasters title a couple of weeks ago.
A long-time competitor on the women's Championship Tour, Bevilacqua's return to competition has been sensational as the tour veteran adapted her surfing to match today's up-and-comers progressive style in the water.
"It's all fun and exciting and surreal, it's like I'm beginning again on the tour but I feel like I know everything already and it's a strange feeling for me," she said. "I haven't had that much fun competing since I started doing some local comps these past couple of years. The younger girls really inspire me, surfing against Justine and some of these girls from Spain and even England was great. They're making me try really hard and now I'm hungry again to win. I'm having so much fun this is a great holiday !"
Fresh off a victory in Lacanau, Williams reached once again the final today, proving she's been the form surfer on the French QS leg this summer. In the last heat, the Whangamata surfer started well with a 7.67 but unfortunately spent the remainder of the bout scouring the lineup for a second good wave she never found, ultimately placing runner-up.
"I'm really happy with my result still, sometimes mother nature just doesn't deliver and you can't change that," she said. "Claire took advantage of the waves at the start and it paid off for her. It's been awesome being here, I met with a friend from New Zealand and we've been hanging out all-week, my mom was here too and we've all just had the best time, surfing, tanning and enjoying ourselves basically."
Post Pro Anglet, the European Ranking Top5 stands as follow:
Men's European QS:
1 - Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
2 - Jorgann Couzinet (REU)
3 - Pedro Henrique (PRT)
4 - Andy Criere (FRA)
5 - Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Women's European QS:
1 - Ariane Ochoa (EUK)
2 - Garazi Sanchez-Ortun (EUK)
3 - Justine Dupont (FRA)
4 - Pauline Ado (FRA)
5 - Camilla Kemp (PRT)
Surfers will now move on to Galicia to compete at the upcoming QS6,000 Pantin Classic Galicia Pro from August 30 - September 4, 2016.