PRAIA DE BAIA, Espinho / Portugal - The Espinho Surf Destination, stop No. 1 on the European Pro Junior Series, has completed another mammoth day of competition to reduce the field to only fourteen men and decide the women quarter-finalists, in wind affected 3-4Ft (1.25 metre) surf.
Diego Mignot (FRA) 18, entered a battle of the nines with Will Davey (GBR) in which he came out on top with a near-perfect 9.60 out of 10, the highest recorded score of the event so far, against Davey's 9.10.
â€œI was in third and needing a big score,â€ Mignot explained. â€œIt was a super important wave, I caught that left on my forehand and started with a good air-reverse then had time a couple more big turns. I just gave everything I had in that wave and I'm stoked that the judges appreciated.â€
Aldric God (FRA) 17, stamped his authority alongside the big dogs in the event, defeating reigning European Champion Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) and Tahitian powerhouse Mihimana Braye (PYF) in the process.
â€œThat was a tough one, I felt like time couldn't pass any slower waiting for the final horn,â€ God said. â€œIt was very close between all of us and we all got at least one big score, so anyone could take it potentially. I'm stoked to have come up on top !â€
Having secured one of the highest heat totals of the event in his first heat of the day, God continued to push his surfing to advance ahead of more experienced competitors. The young Frenchman gets one step closer to making his goal of surfing a man-on-man heat for the first time.
â€œI feel like everyone gave it 200% and we pushed each other to surf better,â€ God continued. â€œI want to continue and make at least one more heat to have the opportunity to surf a man-on-man, I've never done it before !â€
Portugal's Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 19, also secured a solid heat win to confirm he's leading the charge and try to keep the event trophy on home soil.
Tommy Boucaut (FRA) 19 who lit up the perfect conditions yesterday had his back against the wall in the round of 32 having only been able to find one high scoring ride with only seconds to go. The talented regular footer started on a last opportunity wave and managed to produce multiple hits to collect a 7.00 and the heat win.
â€œThat was really stressing,â€ Boucaut reflected. â€œConditions have changed a lot since this morning, and I spent ten minutes catching nothing basically. Then I got a 6 and it was one of the best waves of the heat so it gave me a little confidence to come back. I caught that little double-up right on the buzzer and cashed in four or five manoeuvers, and thankfully I got the score to advance.â€
Long days of competition altered by lenghty high-tide lulls almost cost Boucaut his heat when he arrived late on site and couldn't properly assess the conditions.
â€œLesson learned,â€ Boucaut continued. â€œI got here late and didn't watch the waves, I really thought there were going to be more coming through. I will not make the same mistake and definitely take more time to study the lineup and come up with strategy.â€
The women's field slimmed down to only eight with quarter-finalists decided in the very first morning heats. Event favourites confirmed their dominant position letting nothing to chance and advancing into the final rounds of the event.