Antoine Delpero and Rachael Tilly have taken out the Longboard Pro A Coruña while Marco Mignot and Teresa Bonvalot claim the under-18 titles at the Junior Pro A Coruña today in clean, building three-to-five foot surf at the secondary venue of Playa de Caion.
Competition resumed with the longboard Semifinals early this morning before going on a long break through the low tide to recommence at 5:30 p.m. with the remaining few heats of both the longboard and junior events.
Antoine Delpero (FRA), 30, once again dominated the longboard field and claimed his third consecutive regional event win, belting the highly coveted European Longboard Champion title in the process. The Frenchman found two excellent waves in the opening minutes of the final heat and surfed them with a mixed approach of classic nose-riding and strong closeout hacks for a combined heat total of 15.13.
"It's been a strange event with really small waves to start with, a lot of waiting to culminate with finals in big, closing-out surf so it was real complicated," he said. "I've had this cool little routine going into the last few events, I really just want to enjoy myself, surf smart and catch the two waves I need to win heats. I've felt less pressure and I feel like I keep improving so that's very positive. The level here in Europe is really high, we had the chance to welcome international competitors as well and I hope one of us can get that World Title soon."
Reigning World Longboard Champion Rachael Tilly (USA), 18, got a head start on her opponents in the women's longboard final with a solid 7.17 wave for a lengthy nose ride and the early lead. The quickly building swell served up big chunky sets and very few opportunities for traditional style longboarding as Chloe Calmon (BRA), Lindsay Steinriede (USA) and Justine Dupont (FRA) kept chasing open shoulders and sections to exploit.
Brazilian Calmon committed to a big final maneuver on a closing section, adding an average score on the board before she and Tilly exchanged similar nose rides. Dupont and Steinriede had a slower start but both found waves to try to get back into contention. Tilly finally caught the winning ride to overtake Calmon and claim the women's Longboard Pro A Coruña title.
"These events are pretty important because that final was full of girls I compete against in China as well. Chloe and Lindsay I've surfed against in man-on-man heats on my way to the world title in December," she reflected. "The water here is beautiful and so clear and everyone I've met has been super nice and friendly which has made my trip 10 times better. I'm going to go home now but I'll be back for the next event in England next month."
In an exciting start to the women's junior final, Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), Ariane Ochoa (EUK) and Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) all got up to quick start, exchanging great waves right off the buzzer for a 7-point ride each. Ochoa was the quickest to back up her top score with two good turns on a left-hander. The Basque surfer held the lead for almost half the heat but Portugal's Bonvalot found a slightly better second wave to steal back the lead and ultimately belt her third Junior win this season.
"I'm super happy to win again here today, it gets me closer to a possible European title but I know nothing's for certain until the end of the season," she stated. "I'm going to keep working hard towards that goal, there's two more events and of course I'll be carrying confidence and motivation into the next event in three or four days, but there's still work to be done to secure it."
The men's junior final rounded up the day's amazing action with a 25-minute final right at sunset. Marco Mignot (FRA), 15, picked up where he left off and seemed virtually unstoppable in the solid surf at Caion. The young natural-footer caught the wave of the heat early on and produced his signature powerful forehand carves, mixing it up with aerial maneuvers to close the deal on his maiden Junior Qualifying Series event win. With his result today, Mignot climbs up to second on the region's ladder in close distance of current rankings leader Thomas Debierre (GLP).
"To win here is incredible, I started the final well with a big score and managed to get a good second wave to seal it so that was a great heat for me," he said. "My dad told me earlier this week that I was surfing well and he thought I'd win it so I'm super stoked to prove him right today. My brother won his first junior event in Spain as well so that just adds a little sweetness to this win today. I'm not really thinking title scenarios right now, that would just add pressure on me. I'm rather just enjoying myself, I'm in love with surfing, this final was amazing because everyone had a smile on their face and it's great to win such a special heat."
Surfers and event officials will next meet at 8:30 a.m. Sunday for a potential re-start of the main Qualifying Series men and women's events.