The 2016 Pro Zarautz resumed today with clear blue skies and excellent waves all-day to run through multiple rounds of both the men and women divisions. Surfers delivered an exciting action-packed day for the huge crowds enjoying a beautiful Spring day in the Basque Country.
Joan Duru (FRA), 26, dominated today, collecting four excellent scores on his way to a semifinal berth, including a near-perfect 9.77 out of 10 in his morning round 3 bout. The talented Frenchman went head-to-head with compatriot and fellow goofy foot Marc Lacomare, 25, in an explosive quarterfinal matchup that kept the crowds on their toes up until the final moments.
"Waves have been really fun throughout the day, some heats were more difficult to handle with conditions changing all the time but it's been a great day overall," he stated. "I've had some big heats today, all the good Europeans are here so the level is very high and it's a great warm up for the upcoming event in Martinique too."
Aritz Aranburu (ESP), 30, galvanized the thousands of enthusiastic spectators gathered to witness their local hero take out the day's final heat and a ticket for the semifinals. Visibly motivated by the loud cheers on his way out into the ocean, Aranburu lit up the spot and collected one of the day's biggest totals with 17.50 on the board including an impressive 9.07 for his aggressive forehand surfing.
"It's been a very long day but I'm super happy to be home with my supporters and with good waves, I can't wait for tomorrow," he commented. "That's the best thing, I've been on tour for so long but honestly I still get chicken skin when I have that much support here. Tomorrow is Sunday and we're expecting good waves, it's going to be a fun contest to watch so I invite everyone to come join us at the beach !"
The opening two rounds of the women's event were completed earlier on the high tide, with excellent waves in the three-to-four foot range gracing the lineup.
Off to a great start internationally and currently ranked third on the Qualifying Series, Justine Dupont (FRA), 24, continued her positive streak with a win in round 2 to make her way into the quarterfinals where she'll face Basque surfer Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK). Dupont's efforts in the off-season seem to have given her a huge confidence boost and a renewed love for competition.
"I'm happy with that start, I've worked a lot on heat strategies and even though my scores weren't super high I think I surfed a good heat," she said. "I've changed a lot in my training, and included more mental work and strategy cause the technique isn't everything. So far it's working well so I'll keep doing my best with a clear objective of qualifying for the CT. again."
French compatriot Maud Le Car (FRA), 23, who already has two event wins under her belt this season, looked extremely sharp on the long right-handers on offer in Zarautz and displayed her signature carves and snaps for an excellent 15.33 combined heat total.
"I've studied the lineup and had a little free surf on the next peak this morning," she admitted. "I knew there were a lot of weak waves and concentrated on staying in the inside to pick the ones with a better wall. I didn't have priority for about 90% of the heat but that position choice allowed me to get better waves. I love the rights, I've been really inspired watching Snapper and Bells lately and wanted to surf the rights mainly in preparation for the next contests too."
The French contingent looked very strong with former CT competitor Pauline Ado (FRA), 25, and up-and-comer Kim Veteau (GLP) taking the remaining two heat wins of the second round and leading the field into the quarters.
Surfers and contest organizers will reconvene Sunday at 9:30AM for the final call of the 2016 Pro Zarautz.