Junior Pro Sopela

Quarterfinalists Set for Exciting Sunday at Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela

Highlights Day 3
Competition winds down and sets an exciting finals day of action on Sunday in the Basque Country.

The Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela resumed today in small conditions and completed one round of both the men and women's events to decide the quarterfinalists in contention for the Sopela title.

Nadia Erostarbe (EUK), 16, topped the women's field today with a brilliant performance to move into the quarters and final day of competition. The Basque surfer collected two solid scores and a 14.34 heat total for her powerful backhand turns in the fun little right-handers. Currently sitting fourth in the region's junior title race, Erostarbe will look to finish strong on Sunday to close in on the coveted Top 2 spots synonym of a World Juniors ticket.

Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) .Sopela16 Erostarbe will look to finish strong on finals day - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"Conditions improved throughout the round and they were quite good in my heat, I got two fun little waves but unfortunately I fell on both at the end they ended basically dry on the sand," she stated. "My goal is to climb a couple spots in the rankings, I know it's going to be hard with Ariane cause she has that event win, but I'll try all I can."

Illona Goasguen (FRA), 14, delivered the day's upset, relegating Ariane Ochoa (EUK) to second place in their round 3 matchup, a place that will see Ochoa go head-to-head with Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) in the opening quarterfinal, with the regional title on the line. The young surfer from Brittany scored the second highest total of this third day of competition, equalling her best-result to date with a spot in the quarters.

Illona Goasguen (FRA) .Sopela16 Goasguen was a surprise heat winner in today's conditions. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I was a little lucky to get the two good waves in that heat, it wasn't easy but I had some fun and it's great to win a heat," she said. "Ariane is such a great surfer, she could have gotten those scores easy on the right waves. It's my first season so I'm happy to make the quarters twice and hopefully we get bigger waves tomorrow."

Polynesian newcomer Marion Philippe (PYF), 18, advanced into the quarters for the first time in her young career, placing second to rankings leader Bonvalot. With a solid resume of results in Tahiti and on the world stage at amateur events, Philippe could be the dark horse of the finals day of competition coming up Sunday.

Marion Philippe (PYF) .Sopela16 Philippe pushes her back foot and drifts the tail. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"It's the first time I come compete here in Europe and it's been fun so far, next year I'll be studying at Uni in Bordeaux so I'll try to do more events in the region if my schedule allows it," she said. "I'm having a really hard time in those tiny waves and cold water but I'll try my best to win more heats. My goal was to make the Top5, it's going to be hard cause I didn't do all the events but I have a couple more opportunities so we'll see what happens."

In the men's event, Mathis Crozon (REU), 16, and Lens Arancibia Avila (FRA), 18, put on a great fight for first place in the opening heat. The two surfers exchanged blow for blow for excellent scores, with Crozon narrowly taking an edge over his friend. Both surfers currently sitting outside the European Top 10 will look to continue their great campaign in Sopela and upsets more top seeds when the finals resume tomorrow.

Mathis Crozon (REU) .Sopela16 Crozon was the standout in today's small surf - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"Lens and I battled right from the start for first priority, though we didn't want to take just anything either so we waited a little bit for the first decent waves," Crozon said. "I got an 8.5 and needed a good back-up, I found that 7 something in the end and I'm stoked to win the heat. I have a little bit of experience in man-on-man heats so I hope this will play in tomorrow and I can take out a couple more heats. I hope waves build a little bit so we can all really show what we're capable of."

Titouan Boyer (MAF), 18, continued his winning streak with a dominant performance in the second heat. The highest ranked surfer remaining in this event, Boyer will have a shot at the title race pole position with a big result in the finals.

Titouan Boyer (MAF) .Sopela16 Boyer is now a clear favorite for the event title. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Surfers and event officials will meet Sunday at 8:15AM for the final call of Stop N°5 of 6 in the European Junior Qualifying Series.