The Pro Anglet ran a marathon day of competition to decide the men's quarterfinalists and women's semifinalists. They also set up for an exciting finals day Saturday.
Yesterday Yago Dora (BRA), 20, fired up and belted two scores above 9 points. Today, the Brazilian took his act to the next level and scored four more, definitely stamping his authority on the Pro Anglet. Reaching the man-on-man quarterfinals for the first time this season, Dora will be a clear favorite on finals day if he can keep his incredible tear going for three more heats.
"Today I not only made my airs, but I also got the good waves in my heats and I think that's why my scores are so high," he reflected. "I had yet another rough start and started building slowly, then I got those three ramps back-to-back for the nines. I'm so stoked, the waves are so much fun and I just want to go out there again!"
Asked wether the risk of an injury was ever on his mind, the young Brazilian calmly declined and admitted to live for the thrill of these exciting maneuvers.
"I'll go even bigger if I can!" he continued. "I'm not scared to get hurt, I know it can happen but I just try my best to do the biggest airs I can, I don't mind it if I was just trying my best. That's what you got to do, you have to push your limits."
Marc Lacomare (FRA), 26, collected his third consecutive heat win in Round 5, courtesy of a buzzer-beater wave as the powerful goofy footer was in fourth position with just a couple of minutes on the clock. Lacomare locked in a good left with two solid forehand turns and went straight to first, advancing ahead of Pedro Henrique.
"That was a super close heat, but I had first priority so I just stayed patient and waited for a proper wave with potential. I wasn't really feeling any pressure. My board works well and I'm confident," he stated. "I started on a couple of average waves mid-heat so I wanted to avoid repeating that mistake. I'm stoked to make it through. Everybody surfed well so it was a tough heat. I try to build my scoreboard with what I do best, power surfing, but if I'm backed up against the wall I'll definitely try a couple airs, let's say I keep them in store for finals day."
Nomme Mignot (FRA), 19, was another standout today, going to the air as well to dominate his Round 5 bout and reach the quarters for the first time since last summer.
In the women's field, history repeated itself with three out of four Lacanau semifinalists.
Runner-up last week, Justine Dupont (FRA), 24, is aiming for one spot higher and demonstrated her motivation and strengths today in the tricky bumpy surf at high-tide. Currently sitting in 14th position on the QS ranks, even though a win here in Anglet wouldn't improve her situation, Dupont is still reaching for a qualifying spot on the Championship Tour and will be looking to keep her excellent form into the upcoming QS6,000 next week.
"Conditions changed drastically between when I watched the spot pre-heat and when I actually surfed, but I'm happy cause I managed to adapt quite well," she analyzed. "I look forward to the semis now, Claire (Bevilacqua) will definitely want to beat me this time after our semi in Lacanau and I will do everything to make it as hard as possible for her to do so!"
Tessa Thyssen (BLM), 19, will join the three usual suspects in the semis, her best result in the Qualifying Series so far this season. A former runner-up at the World Junior Championships, Thyssen had a hard time adjusting to the major leagues and is out trying to rebuild confidence through the end of the season.
"I knew Reika (Noro) and I surf at the same level so I was really concerned with that heat, but I managed to build my scoreboard early with those little rights and it paid off," she admitted. "I've had a terrible season so far and it has been really hard to stay motivated to surf all the events. It's great to be surfing in France again and see all my friends, I'm making a few heats and that helps a lot to build my confidence level back up. "
Event officials will reassess conditions at 7AM Saturday for a final day of competition as the forecast shows a fast decline in swell height over the next couple of days.
MagicSeaWeed, official forecaster of the World Surf League European Qualifying Series, calls for:
Fading swell starting in the chest plus range and dropping to waist high by Sunday with the possibility of light but disruptive onshore breezes worse in the afternoons. With no more storm activity on the outlook we've got a weekend of fading swell, still in a contestable size range on Saturday particularly, but with the possibility of more disruptive winds.