The inaugural Junior Pro Biscarrosse launched today in wind-affected two-to-three foot surf with a massive day of action to complete 30 heats of both the men and women competitions. The day started with a short two-heat opening round of the women before moving into the first three round of the men's event.
French-Austrian Jonas Bachan (AUT), 18, secured the day's highest single-wave score, an excellent 8 point ride for a combination of multiple turns on one of the longest waves seen all-day. The powerful 18- year-old couldn't find a similar back-up but managed to advance in second position to keep his Biscarrosse campaign going.
"I started on a right and turned around heading left and did turns all the way to the beach on that one I was so exhausted," he admitted. "I was glad cause I knew that was a good wave even though I couldn't hear exactly the score I got and what I needed to make it. I definitely have similar waves at home, I might actually not surf a day like today but waves are punchy and I still have a lot of fun out there."
Marco Mignot (FRA), 15, belted the second-highest combined heat total of day 1 with two good waves scored above the 6-point mark to advance into Round 4. The young Frenchman who had an excellent start in the opening event of 2016 in Caparica before bowing out on a shocker, will try to confirm his good form when the event resumes on home soil.
"Looking at conditions before my heat I could tell it would be tough but I managed to find two good ones and I'm happy I made this one," he said. "I'm here with my dad and the Quik team with Micky Picon as a coach so I'm feeling great and well supported, we'll see what happens in the next ones."
Just coming back from a wildcard slot in the recent Martinique Surf Pro last week, Titouan Dubos (MTQ), 17, collected an impressive three consecutive heat wins in Biscarrosse today. The young Caribbean surfer carefully took notice of the QS level of performance and was humbled by the experience, coming back to the Junior ranks motivated as ever.
"It's a great start and I hope I can keep my little rhythm going, conditions were great early this morning but unfortunately it has become really complicated now with the onshore wind and low tide," he analyzed. "It was an awesome experience to surf in the QS in Martinique, just watching the guys in the free surf was crazy they're super good."
Earlier in the day, WSL Europe Tour Manager Rob Gunning and French Surfing Federation President Jean-Luc Arassus shook hands on a partnership proposal to help nurture the French junior surfers and further develop their access to WSL events throughout the country and continent.
WSL Europe will invest financially with the Federation and accompany the association's efforts to follow young talents from the breeding level of surfing clubs towards a potential career of professional athletes through training programs and trips among other initiatives.
"This partnership is very important, the WSL will allow us to fully integrate its event locations in France and share an important mission that is nurturing our young athletes," Arassus stated. "The federation will be concretely implicated in following the JQS tour and will integrate this into the training of our surfers."
"The goal here is to work together towards having stronger surfers and possibly groom future champions of the sport," Gunning added. "We also want to help all the athletes that dedicate their careers to our tours, as we're aware that only a small portion will make it as a viable career."
Contest officials and surfers will reconvene at 7:30AM Friday to reassess conditions and decide to continue with the men or women's events.