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European Junior Title Coming Down to the Wire

Highlights: Big Upsets at Junior Pro Sopela
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Women's semifinalists have been decided on day four of the Junior Pro Sopela and only two contenders in the men's European Junior Title remain.

Title Contenders Down to Just Two

Erwan Blouin has been surfing really well since the start of this event, but today he raised the bar to eliminate good friend Marcot Mignot and shatter his hopes of a European Junior Title in the process.

"I made my life's best two heats today," he said. "Maybe I could have gotten a 10 if I hadn't fell at the end of the wave. I did a huge carve to tailslide and I grabbed it. This is a maneuver I never tried in a competition. It was incredible for me to land it today. I was happy to be able to show my best surf."

"Marco and I have been surfing together since we are young," he added. "He surfs really good and can land all types of maneuvers, from airs to carves. He really pushed me to improve and I respect him a lot. Beating him today in great waves is crazy for me."

Erwan Blouin (FRA) .Jr Pro Sopela 2017. Erwan Blouin (FRA) WSL / Laurent Masurel

At this stage of the competition, only Theo Julitte and Kauli Vaast remain in contention for the prestigious regional junior crown. Theo stepped up his game this morning in pumping Sopela to advance all the way into the quarters and keep his title hopes alive and well.

"It feels good to have good conditions for once," he said. "I try to surf the best I can and above all to take pleasure doing it. I've been looking at the spot all morning from the top of the cliff and I saw that the biggest sets were breaking more on the right side of the line up. When the set came, the four of us paddled out as far as we could, but finally I realized that the wave was different from the others. So I paddled back in, and luckily Will (Masterman) couldn't catch it. It looked so perfect. I just needed to land all maneuvers and surf on the rail. That's what I did and I got the score."

Virtually No. 1 on the rankings with his result in Sopela, Kauli continued to advance through the rounds as well, and is only one heat win away from clinching a first-ever European Junior Title.

And Then There Were Four

That's the best four female athletes we are talking about here. As Vahine Fierro and Ellie Turner are cruising slowly but surely towards finals day, they will surf against each other tomorrow in the semis.

Ellie Turner Junior Pro Sopelq 2017 Ellie Turner (GBR) WSL / WSL/AMEZAGA

Waves took a turn for the trickier this afternoon with a wind switch and the high tide, but apparently it was not a problem for the women. On the other side of the draw Eveline Hooft will meet Neis Lartigue in semifinal No. 2 for a shot at their first-ever man-on-man final.

"I've been surfing here for three weeks now," Eveline explained. "I really like Sopela, that's a really nice place and I like the waves here. Even if it's windy this afternoon, there are some powerful bowls and this is what I like to surf".

Surfers and event officials will reconvene Sunday at 9:30 a.m for a potential early start to the final day of competition.

Check out all the photos, videos and updates right here.

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