The Junior Pro Espinho wrapped up perhaps the most important day of the event so far, running through two full rounds of the men's event as well as the women's Quarters, to be in the position to finish before high tide on Sunday.
A bunch of top seeds were eliminated in both the men and women events, leaving doors wide opened for all the people behind them on the regional rankings.
The surfer with the most to gain is arguably Marco Mignot. Today both the current leader Kauli Vaast and No. 2 Theo Julitte were eliminated from competition while Marco continued to impress and make up ground, heading to the Quarterfinals on Sunday.
"I free-surfed on both peaks before the event started so I knew what to expect and I went out there confident," he said. "With another event after this one, the rankings are far from over. Of course I'm going to try to go for the title, but I'm quite focused on making each heat first and not thinking long term. I have great people around me here that help me stay grounded and make smart choices and we're having a good time in Espinho."
On the other side of the spectrum, 13 year-old Basque surfer Adur Amatriain also turned heads as he advanced in first out of his Round Three bout, ahead of much more experienced competitors, including older brother Iker. Adur surfed a good little right with style and power to earn a 7.43, one of the best single-wave scores of the day.
"I'm so happy, I was alone on that peak and got a couple of sick rights!," Adur said. "It always feels good to beat your older brother in a heat. I'm super excited and I'm going to try and continue like this. I'm smaller than everyone, so if waves stay like this I could have an advantage again tomorrow."
In the women's, the two clear favorites Teresa Bonvalot and Vahine Fierro both lived up to the hype and easily qualified for the Semis. Behind them, an interesting batch of new talent fought for their own spots on finals day and will be exciting to watch when they come up against the top seeds.
Juliette Lacome just comes fresh off an excellent second place in Biscarrosse and looks determined to reach the finals again. Currently in 4th position on the European Junior rankings, the Anglet local has a real opportunity to climb further up the regional ladder with a big result tomorrow.
"The tide got a little too high in our heat and conditions weren't the best but I got through so I'm happy," she said. "Being second in Bisca was great but that's the worst place cause you're so close to winning but you don't! I hope to make the Top 2 by the end of the season so I'm going to try my best here again. Teresa is super strong, Ellie as well, there are a few girls that are going to be difficult to beat but I'll try my best."
Speaking of, Ellie Turner continued to contribute to England's new push of Junior talents, and reached the semis for the second time this season. With a runner-up on her season tally, Ellie is nowhere out of the qualification talks for the World Juniors, and will be one to watch when the event resumes.
"I'm happy to make the semis and I'm hoping the waves will be a little better tomorrow," Ellie admitted. "There are a lot of good surfers coming out of England right now, which is exciting. We have your average competition wave on a daily basis there so that might be an advantage, but also there are great clubs and coaches doing the work to train all the young surfers in the U.K. I personally travel quite a bit to Indonesia every year, as well as France and Spain, cause every wave is different and it's good to experience it all."
Contest officials have set a final call Sunday at 8 a.m to launch the finals and crown the 2017 Junior Pro Espinho Champions around lunchtime.
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