The Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela resumed on Day 2 in clean 1-to-2 foot surf and decided the women's quarterfinalists in a tricky lineup.
Vahine Fierro, an unknown 15 year-old surfer hailing from Tahiti, took the whole regional contingent by surprise when she dominated her Round 3 heat to make her way into the Quarterfinals of the event.
"I'm usually competing in Australasia and I'm here sort of by chance, as I'm traveling with my family through Europe," Fierro explained. "I'm very used to small wave surfing at beachbreaks and I felt good out there."
In her first full season among the Australasian Junior crowd, Fierro is currently in 10th position on the regional rankings. In Sopela, the young goofyfooter belted the day's highest combined heat total, an impressive 15.27 out of a possible 20 and will be a force to be reckoned with when the event resumes.
"I'm really impressed with the level of the girls, I hardly know anyone here and it's good to compete against new people," Fierro continued. "I just want to keep making heats and we'll see how far I can go."
Anat Lelior (ISR) 15, maintained the great form she demonstrated in Portugal a few weeks ago, reaching the quarters and relegating current rankings leader Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) to second place in their Round 3 matchup.
"The waves were super small and fast so that was definitely not easy out there," Lelior said. "It was mostly a one-turn affair, but I'm super happy to be here and having fun with my friends. I was definitely more comfortable on my forehand in those conditions and I'm used to train in similar surf in Israel. I'm hoping for bigger waves now, that's why I'm here to learn and improve. I really like Teresa and how she surfs, I was surprised to come first ahead of her."
Current European Junior No. 3 Carol Henrique (PRT) 20, survived a close call in the second round but came back swinging to net her own ticket for the quarters. The Portuguese powersurfer suffered an interference call in her first heat of the day, and managed to advance, despite relying only on her top score, an impressive 8.50 considering the conditions.
"I'm loving it here in Sopela, it's been fun so far and I'm super happy to make my heats," Henrique stated. "I don't really have any pressure but being up there on the rankings I definitely want to do well and the qualification for the World Juniors is a possibility in the back of my mind."
Title race frontrunners led the show, maximizing their efforts to select the best scoring opportunities and perform on single maneuvers and quick combinations. When the event resumes, the remaining eight surfers will compete for a precious spot on the podium of the event, and the valuable ranking points on offer in Sopela.
With a solid swell on the horizon and easing cross-shore winds for Saturday, organizers have called for a 7:30 a.m. call for the men's competition, and 12 p.m. for the women.