France's Erwan Blouin strong as event gets down to the pointy end
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 July, 2017 - Day Four of the Junior Pro Sopela started this morning in pumping four-to-five foot wave, groomed by strong offshore winds. The women’s semifinalists were decided while the men’s event stopped before the quarterfinals.
The day started with men’s Round Four and Kauli Vaast (PYF) kept going strong with big scores. He felt comfortable on his forehand on the powerful left, showing great carving skills and surpassing his opponents. With a combination of 17.90 points, he advanced and got closer to clinching the coveted regional title.
However Theo Julitte (FRA) was on fire too, and still has a mathematical shot at the title. He claimed the best wave of the event so far, a near-perfect 9.63 and a 7.50, for 17.13 in total, and was already a serious threat for Vaast and Marco Mignot (FRA). If Vaast was to lose in the quarterfinals, Julitte could become the European Junior Champion by winning this event.
“It feels good to have good conditions for once,” Julitte said. “I try to surf the best I can and above all to take pleasure doing it. I’ve been looking at the spot all morning from the top of the cliff and I saw that the biggest sets were breaking more on the right side of the line up. When the set came, the four of us paddled out as far as we could, but finally I realized that the wave was different from the others. So I paddled back in, and luckily Will (Masterman) couldn’t catch it. It looked so perfect. I just needed to land all maneuvers and surf on the rail. That’s what I did and I got the score.”
In Round 5, the huge upset of the day was the elimination of Marco Mignot (FRA) by his good friend Erwan Blouin (FRA), who surfed an incredible heat and ended Mignot’s title hopes. Coming from the Arcachon Bay, Blouin stole the show and lit up the local crowds.
“I made my life’s best two heats today,” Blouin said. “Maybe I could have gotten a 10 if I hadn’t fallen at the end of the wave. I did a huge carve to tailslide and I grabbed it. This is a maneuver I never tried in a competition. It was incredible for me to land it today. I was happy to be able to show my best surf.”
Blouin received a 9.60 for his dynamic surfing. Mignot and Blouin have known each other for years, but Blouin showed no compassion for his opponent.
“We’ve been surfing together since we are young,” he added. “Marco surfs really good and can land all types of maneuvers, from airs to carves. He really pushed me to improve and I respect him a lot. Beating him today in great waves is crazy for me.”
In the women category, Vahine Fierro (PYF) confirmed her great form and that she’s comfortable in powerful waves. On Friday, she already did a great performance and she now has the best total score of the women’s event. In an intense exchange with Basque surfer Nadia Erostarbe (EUK), from Zarautz, she ended her first heat of the day with a 16.24 total score. She later qualified for the semifinals.
One of the other favorites for the event title Ellie Turner (GBR), continued to advance successfully, showing solid turns on the consistent left hander that was on offer today at Sopela’s beach break. She dropped an excellent 8 point ride, backed up with a 7.50. In her second heat of the day, she beat Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) and will be part of the last four.
Eveline Hooft (NLD) will be one of them as well. She felt comfortable in the wind affected waves on offer by the end of the day.
“I’ve been surfing here for three weeks now,” Hooft explained. “I really like Sopela, that’s a really nice place and I like the waves here. Even if it’s windy this afternoon, there are some powerful bowls and this is what I like to surf”.
The last heat of the day was won by Neis Lartigue (FRA). She ended the show with a 15 points combination.
“Waves were a bit tricky at the end,” Lartigue said. “It looks a bit like home and I was confident. I managed to get a good opening score pretty early. Tomorrow I’ll try my best to go to the final and win. I feel that I have had a bad season this year. I was getting good scores but I was losing early most of the time. Now I’m really happy to move to the semis here in Sopela.”
Men and women athletes will reconvene on Sunday morning at 9.30 a.m to reassess conditions and complete the event. The Junior Pro Sopela is scheduled from July 19-23, 2017 in Sopela, Bizcaya / Basque Country. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
UPCOMING JUNIOR PRO SOPELA WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS:
SF 1: Ellie Turner (GBR), Vahine Fierro (PYF)
SF 2: Eveline Hooft (NLD), Neis Lartigue (FRA)
UPCOMING JUNIOR PRO SOPELA MEN’S QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS:
QF 1: Erwan Blouin (FRA), Thomas Debierre (FRA)
QF 2: Leo Paul Etienne (FRA), Renan Grainville (FRA)
QF 3: Kauli Vaast (PYF), Maxime Dos Anjos (FRA)
QF 4: Afonso Antunes (PRT), Theo Julitte (FRA)
JUNIOR PRO SOPELA WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Ellie Turner (GBR) 13.40, Nadia Erostarbe (EUK)10.80
QF 2: Vahine Fierro (PYF) 14.43, Isabel Gundin (ESP) 10.10
QF 3: Eveline Hooft (NLD) 10.57, Illona Goasguen (FRA) 9.26
QF 4: Neis Lartigue (FRA), Hina-Maria Conradi (FRA)
JUNIOR PRO SOPELA MEN’S ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Erwan Blouin (FRA) 17.93, Leo Paul Etienne (FRA) 13.33, Marco Mignot (FRA) 13.06, Ignacio Guisasola (ESP) 11.60
Heat 2: Renan Grainville (FRA) 15.27, Thomas Debierre (FRA) 14.10, Diego Suarez Diaz (CNY) 12.76, Nicolas Guimond (FRA) 12.14
Heat 3: Kauli Vaast (PYF) 11.53, Afonso Antunes (PRT) 11.43, Tiago Carrique (FRA) 11.00, Dylan Groen (DEU) 9.53
Heat 4: Theo Julitte (FRA) 14.50, Maxime Dos Anjos (FRA) 13.33, Felix Morau (FRA) 12.33, Joao Moreira (PRT) 11.66
JUNIOR PRO SOPELA WOMEN’S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Ellie Turner (GBR) 15.50, Isabel Gundin (ESP) 12.77, Lucia Machado (CNY) 9.10, Mafalda Lopes (PRT) 8.80
Heat 2: Vahine Fierro (PYF) 16.24, Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 14.43, Uhaina Joly (FRA) 9.00, Iara Dominguez (ESP) 5.10
Heat 3: Eveline Hooft (NLD) 12.43, Neis Lartigue (FRA) 11.46, Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (EUK) 11.24, Maddi Aizpurura (ESP) 8.23
Heat 4: Hina Maria Conradi (FRA) 14.63, Illona Goasguen (FRA) 14.16, Juliette Lacome (FRA) 12.70, Nahia Milhau (FRA) 7.86
JUNIOR PRO SOPELA MEN’S ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Erwan Blouin (FRA) 16.40, Nicolas Guimond (FRA) 13.26, Thomas Doumenjou (FRA) 13.16, Fynnlee Miller-Cooley (GBR) 8.30
Heat 2: Leo Paul Etienne (FRA) 16.03, Diego Suarez Diaz (CNY) 12.50, Iker Amatriain (ESP) 11.63, Sean Gunning (ESP) 10.10
Heat 3: Thomas Debierre (FRA) 14.17, Ignacio Guisasola (ESP) 10.23, Attilio Goncalves (REU) 8.80, Adur Amatriain (EUK) 8.06
Heat 4: Renan Grainville (FRA) 14.16, Marco Mignot (FRA) 13.66, Nanook Ballerin (FRA) 12.87, Juan Gorostidi (EUK)9.33
Heat 5: Kauli Vaast (PYF) 17.90, Maxime Dos Anjos (FRA) 14.33, Issam Auptel (FRA) 12.27, Endika Garai (ESP) 11.00
Heat 6: Dylan Groen (DEU) 17.47, Joao Moreira (PRT) 12.26, Gaizka Housset Ezponda (FRA) 12.10, Lucas Desmoucelle (FRA) 12.07
Heat 7: Theo Julitte (FRA) 17.13, Afonso Antunes (PRT) 10.94, Guilherme Ribeiro (PRT) 10.87, Willoughby Masterman (GBR) 6.93
Heat 8: Felix Morau (FRA) 15.94, Tiago Carrique (FRA) 14.60, Mathis Crozon (FRA) 12.26, Nemo Nogues (FRA) 9.87