The Pantin Classic Galicia Pro, final ASP 6-Star Women's event of 2014, started today in clean 4-to-5-foot surf at the iconic playa de Pantin. Two rounds of competition were completed, leaving a field of 24 hopeful women trying to rack up crucial ranking points before the season comes to an end.
North Narrabeen's Laura Enever (AUS) 22, was in sizzling form, lacerating the Pantin rights with her signature snapping turns and dynamic frontside attack. Fresh off a ninth place in France, Enever looked solid to improve on this result and solidify her position in the QS ranks.
â€œI've been down here all day and I've never really seen a beachbreak change as much as it does here in Pantin,â€ Enever said. â€œYou really have to adapt to the current tide and figure out where to sit from the very previous heat I guess. I'm stoked that I went out and caught a couple fun waves.â€
In the very next heat, recent winner of the Swatch Girls Pro France Junior Keely Andrew (AUS) 19, matched Enever's performance to advance with an impressive 16.25 heat total out of 20.
Paige Hareb (NZL) 24, current World No. 15, exploded out of the gates, navigating two excellent rights with power-surfing and precise technique. The talented goofy-footer took full advantage of attacking the wave backside to hit the sections vertically and score high.
â€œIt was a bit of a dream heat really, I only caught three waves but they were all scores,â€ Hareb said. â€œI felt relaxed out there and it feels great to have waves here after France. The conditions kind of remind me of home, the waves are big and mixy sort of, there's a bit of power and it's perfect for goofies.â€
With four events remaining on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, Hareb needs to improve her situation on the Qualifying Series if she wants to rejoin the Elite Top 17 next season.
â€œI need results on both tours, so I'm looking to win this one and I won't be happy if I don't win it!,â€ Hareb added.
Coco Ho (HAW) 23, recent equal 5th at the Swatch Girls Pro France, kept her momentum going in her first-ever appearance in Pantin. The Hawaiian drew long carves and power-turns on the peeling rights to score a 7.50 and take the win.
â€œIt's just so nice to be here, it's my first time here in Pantin and it definitely blew my expectations,â€ Ho said. â€œThere's been swell everyday and it's a really fun right! Driving home to our spot is definitely a little glimpse of Kauai so it's really refreshing to be somewhere new, too.â€
â€œI had a lot of nerves going into that heat, just because coming from a big result at Oceanside to a last place in France, I really was just kind of in the middle with emotions out there,â€ Erickson reflected. â€œI'm happy to make that heat and it gives me a lot of confidence for the further rounds.â€
Currently in second place on the ASP Women's QS series, Erickson eyes a potential requalification for the World Championship Tour, after spending only a year out of the Top 17. She will look to advance far in the event to solidify her position on top of the QS ranks.
â€œI'm loving every bit of being here, I can't say enough good things about the Galician coast, it's so beautiful.â€ Erickson added. â€œTwo years ago winning here I ended up winning the entire QS which is a career achievement that I still look upon proudly. My race trying to get back on that tour is looking that much sweeter, but you know it's so funny how sometimes you're still not satisfied. Even with my win in Oceanside, I still have that competitive desire to win. I'm not done yet!â€
The young Australian Isabella Nichols took everyone by surprise earlier in Round 1, when she dominated her heat with one of the highest heat totals of the event so far, an impressive 15.40. She then confirmed, advancing ahead of Erickson to reach a career-best round of 24 in a 6-Star.
â€œIt's my first time here in Pantin and I'm already loving it!â€ Nichols said. â€œThe waves are really different but I feel totally comfortable surfing here. I feel lucky that I got those good scores to qualify and am looking forward to the next round.â€
The next call is set on Friday morning at 8:30am for surfers and organizers to decide the day's schedule.