Conditions slightly improved on Day Two of the Pro Zarautz with lighter winds early morning and waves in the waist-to-shoulder-high range. The day started with the opening round of the women's event before moving into the top seeds' Round Three of the men.
Winners Are Winning
The good thing about back-to-back events in such a short time is that predictions become kind of easy. Take the two winners of the Caparica Primavera Surf Fest last week, QS and Junior, and you have the two biggest performances of the women's opening day in Zarautz.
Justine Dupont claimed the QS title in Portugal last Thursday, placed runner-up in the longboard on Saturday, drove home overnight to France and won a local comp there on Monday. It's safe to say she's got that winning form dialed, and with a 9.17 in Round One today she proved her intention to add another event title to her resume this week.
"We got the best moment of the tide and conditions really came together nicely for us," she said. "I love it when there's no waiting around, it's rare enough that the women go first! I had fun in this heat and look forward to some more of this soon. My mom's here with me so now I'm going to go and show her around the Basque Country a little bit."
Teresa Bonvalot didn't crack the 9-point bar, but actually overcame Justine on the event leaderboard, with a massive 17.07 heat total this morning. Somewhat disappointed with her performance in the main event in Portugal, she's looking to bounce back and finally clinch a QS win that's eluded her so far.
"It wasn't easy out there but at least we had waves so it was definitely fun," she said. "I had a terrible heat in Caparica in the QS and couldn't find anything to just stand up and surf so I really want to have fun and make a few more heats here."
In a similar fashion as yesterday's, younger surfers wanted their piece of the action as well in the women's today.
The Return of the Champ
It's always one of the heats to look out for, when the defending champ comes back in town. It's tricky, on the one side you must be carrying confidence from the past win, on the other side everyone's watching you and clearly drawing a target on your back as the one guy to beat.
Jonathan Gonzalez moved us last year with a heartfelt speech when he clinched the European title in Cascais. The previous 10 years spent on the road finally seemed worth it. In a possible final effort among the Qualifying crowd, Jonathan now looks more serene and ready to do some damage on tour.
"I made a few little mistakes in the early rounds on the Australian leg," he said. "But I was feeling great, I felt like my surfing was right there with the best of them, so it was great to be there. I'm still super motivated to go and battle it out on the big events this season."
Injury Report: Clearly Not Injured Anymore
Jake Marshall missed the Caribbean leg, with Martinique and Barbados, due to a shoulder injury sustained a few weeks back. Today he stitched together a 9.57 to advance into Round Four. Would we be jumping to conclusions in saying that his injury seems long gone?
"My shoulder feels good, this is my first event back and I'm stoked to be surfing again," he said. "I made sure my legs and my core were kept in good shape and as soon as my arm got stronger I just rehabbed it properly. Now I want to get enough points to get into the QS10,000s of the back half of the year cause I just missed them last season."
Event officials have settled on a 10 a.m call Friday for a potential women's Round Two while the men will be off for the day.
Find out all the results, photos, video highlights and daily recaps right here.