The Caparica Primavera Surf Fest, inaugural festival of its kind in Portugal, resumed in slightly improving conditions and crowned two more champions today.
Justine Confirms Superiority
Justine Dupont looked in fine form these past few days and confirmed today with her first win of the season in the women's QS division of the Caparica Pro. The multitalented surfer said she's trying to gather a little budget to invest in a proper jet ski for her next season riding giants.
"I'm super happy and yes this is the first tenth of my jet right there!," she laughed. "If I'm good I might get the second in the longboard! But yes, I'm happy I managed to adapt to these conditions, it was a good challenge. I'm super happy to have my little crew here to share this win with me."
Juniors Shine Despite Difficult Surf
Theo hails from the peninsula of Quiberon in the northwest of France, a wave-rich but somewhat underestimated surf region that has produced other talented WSL athletes like the Cloarec brothers for example.
"I'm super happy, I managed to surf well and had fun even in the final," he said. "I had a great support team with Nicolas Berthet who followed me all week and taught me how to manage heats. I also prepared in La Torche with Florian Tallouarn and Mael Lelgouach and want to thank them as well as my friends and family."
Theo built experience through last season with two good results but today marked his first-ever win on the Junior professional tour. He now has a couple of months to train and prepare to wear a target on his back at the next stop on the Junior Qualifying Series in Espinho.
"My goal this year is to do the four stops and win as many as I can," he added. "I really want to make the top 2 and qualify for the World Juniors."
Ian Fontaine Shocks QS Field
The norm for the first five heats of the men's Round Four were 4s and 5s, with the occasional 6-point score. Then paddled out that red little dot, way down the beach toward the pier, some 100 meters from the other three surfers of the heat. That red jersey was Ian Fontaine, a relatively unknown surfer (on the Qualifying Series) from Brittany.
Without notice, Ian dropped two 8s and saw his opponents paddle toward him in shock, having missed the now obvious turn of the tide, and the new little bank that just started working. They remained combo'ed for the rest of the heat.
"I'm here coaching all the juniors from the Billabong team and I've watched and timed this bank all week," he explained. "I knew my heat was the exact moment where it would start to work. I was lucky enough to get two good scores right away before anyone else could join me."
Ian is not your typical QS grinder, he sits somewhere outside the top 300, only surfs a handful of events in the region, but seems to enjoy it all the more. And don't even start to ask him if coming from a region which most of people think doesn't have surf was an advantage in the small stuff.
"Aha you're kidding!," he laughed. "I wouldn't normally step foot in the water with those waves. I just have an awesome little epoxy board I've had for over a year but it works incredibly, in those conditions the board does 70 percent of the job! I don't really have a precise goal on the QS, what I really want is to continue to improve, see how the other guys surf and have fun."
A real passionate fan too, when he's not on the road or surfing an event, Ian spends most of his time "researching" the current state of the World's Best 34 athletes to compose a perfect Fantasy team! A committed effort that paid off in 2016 when he selected Stu Kennedy at the opening event in Snapper.
"I follow everyone on Instagram, I check out all their free surfs and try to see what the stories are and who I should select," he continued. "I'm just real passionate about surfing, I watch every single event from start to finish. The first two events I tried my luck with risky picks and they really didn't pay off, so now I'm going to play it safe at Bells cause I'm so far down the rankings."
You can follow Ianou's Picks and compare stats for the rest of the season.
Friday should see the longboarders join in the fun with a 7 a.m call for the male athletes while the women are invited to come at 9 a.m for a potential start as well. The men's QS athletes also have a call at 1 p.m.