Another mammoth day of competition at the Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela reduced the men's field down to just eight, keeping the man-on-man heats for the final day on Sunday.
Stormy seas provided a wild lineup to test the competitors endurance and placement skills. At that game, it was the more experienced that came through and delivered in a fantastic fashion with a flurry of excellent and near-perfect scores.
Timothee Bisso (GLP) 18, blasted through the day, finding excellent scores in all his heats, and belting the event's highest combined heat total of a 18.97 out of 20. His combination of major maneuvers on the biggest sections were unanimously rewarded by the judges.
"I tried to really simplify my surfing, get back to basics," Bisso explained. "No fancy surfing, just big old carves on the best sections of the waves. It was tough to find the right ones out there but when you do you really got to commit and push hard every turn."
In an unusual turn of events, halfway through the season Bisso is nowhere to be seen in the top ranks. Two average results in Portugal see the young Guadeloupe surfer sit in 11th on the regional ladder, hoping to capitalize on his excellent Sopela campaign so far.
"I'm quite happy with my surfing today, but I'm focused on the finals tomorrow," Bisso continued. "I've made mistakes in the first two events, I've haven't been super lucky either, so I just want to start with a clean slate here and have a good back-end of the season."
Gearoid McDaid (IRL) 18, participated in Bisso's effort to take out current rankings leader Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) in their round 5 matchup. The talented Irish belted a huge score early on, a 9.07 for a series of powerful gauges on his forehand.
"As I was paddling into it I could already tell it was going to be good," McDaid stated. "I had four or five good turns on this wave. I didn't know it was a nine though, I couldn't hear anything out there, so I really didn't know what I was chasing."
With only seconds on the clock, McDaid was unknowingly chasing a mediocre 2.60 to advance in second place, but the bumpy lineup wasn't cooperating. That is until the very last second before the horn blew the end of the 25-minute bout.
"I knew I needed a backup and I fell on a closeout in the last ten seconds," he continued. "I just turned around on a little double-up and finally I got the score. I'm happy with that result, it's definitely going to bump me up on the rankings. I just hope I can keep finding fun waves tomorrow and make it through a couple more rounds !"
Jobe Harriss (GBR) 19, came out on top of the third Round 5 heat, to net his third consecutive quarterfinal berth this season, even relegating current European No.3 Miguel Blanco (PRT) 19, to second place in the process.
"That definitely feels so good, I had a few rough heats up until that one," Harriss admitted. "Looking at all the other regions, it seems you need to reach the final and even win an event to secure a spot for the World Juniors so hopefully this contest will be it."
Despite scratching through the earlier rounds, Harriss proved consistent in all various conditions surfers faced so far this week, and will count on his adaptability to face yet another different lineup when the event resumes on Sunday for the finals.
"I've basically got two excellent Mayhem boards at the moment, a small-wave board and this one," Harriss commented. "I just swap and change between the two, they're both really solid in everything. I'm feeling pretty happy and confident with those under my feet."
"I just hope the waves keep pumping, today was really fun," Delahaye said. "With Natxo and Charly out, there may be room for some of us to step up so I'm really focused on making it all the way here. I want that Top5 spot, it's my last year before I hit the QS."
The final call on Sunday will be held at 7:30am for both men and women competitors, to potentially crown the event champions around lunchtime.