Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela

Marathon Day at Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela

Highlights Day 1
Europe's top juniors take on a fun playground and progress through two rounds of competition on day 1.

Stop No. 3 of 5 in the 2015 European Junior Qualifying Series, the Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela launched in clean 2-to-3 foot surf in Sopela and advanced through two rounds of the men's event and half of Round 1 of the women's event.

The day witnessed surfers take on all sorts of conditions including the glassy morning shorebreak and the far outside bumpy peaks on the low end of the tide. While the event top seeds haven't entered the competition yet, some of the youngest competitors stepped up to display a flurry of progressive maneuvers.

Eliott Napias (PYF) 17, delivered a great battle with Euskadi's Julen Egiguren (EUK) 18, taking the win in the dying seconds with a great effort, riding a wave from the back into the sand.

"This is my first time competing here in Europe, I usually compete at home in Tahiti," Napias said. "My season start wasn't great, I got a little confused with the four-man priority system and went out on an interference. Today I had an average start in the heat but thankfully I got a good wave at last and managed to get through. I'm here to compete against different competitors and I like spending the summer here, I have all my family in the South-West of France too."

Egiguren had a strong grip on first position with only two waves ridden in their 20-minute bout, but didn't account for Napias's last minute heroics. Managing to advance through the first two rounds of competition still, the young Basque surfer will carry momentum and confidence when competition resumes.

"I surf without pressure and just want to have fun here," Egiguren stated. "My first two results this year were terrible so I just want to surf as well as I can and go through a few rounds. I'm here with my coach and have my family and friends support me as well. The conditions were tough but I managed to make it work for me so I'm happy with how today unfolded."

Young newcomer Erwan Blouin (FRA) 15, collected two heat-wins for his first-ever Pro Junior appearance, defeating more experienced competitors in the process. Traveling with his Billabong teammates, Blouin benefits from an environment where he can learn and improve.

"I've been surfing since I was three, and it's just continuity for me to start competing on the Pro Junior series," Blouin explained. "I was supposed to do the first events in Portugal but it wasn't possible with schools etc. I'm really happy with my results today, it's been a long day of waiting in between the two rounds, and conditions were very different in the two heats so all together I'm satisfied."

Following 32 heats of men, the women's first round was launched on the incoming tide and an easing wind, completing the initial four-matchups.

Organizers have convened both men and women for another 7:45am call on Friday for a potential re-start of competition.