What an exciting day it's been on Day 3 of the 2017 Pro Anglet. The forecast is rough, we'll grant you that. But by running double banks, and compressing the event to its minimum, we've just witnessed multiple tight heats and exciting battles go down on each side of the pier at Chambre d'Amour. And now only four men and four women remain; see below for specifics.
Two equal 5th places in the Australians QS6,000 early this year and a spot well up top on the rankings when we (well, you) had basically never heard of the guy. Since then, though, it hasn't exactly been a walk in the park for the Reunion Island surfer. Dire results followed through the mid-season and now Jorgann is out to rebuild his amazing momentum and confidence levels before the major European events and the Hawaiian showdown.
Today it seemed everything finally clicked back into place and Jorgann showed an even new side of his surfing we were unaware of. He's shown us forehand power carves and airs, but when he posted a 9.23 for four backhand turns, we actually realized he's quite the whole package. He's the final Frenchman in the Semis in Anglet, and everyone will be cheering him on for the win.
"I found a super nice wave that let me do three turns and I thought it was over but it kept going and offered one more opportunity for that 9," he said. "I've had a rough patch lately, but I've gone back to work, especially mental preparation and I'm super excited to try to find my way back to podiums and wins."
A Basque Superheat: Aritz Aranburu vs. Hodei Collazo
They both have over 20 years of experience competing on the professional surfing tours: junior, QS, and even CT for Aritz. They both come out of the same region, have known each other forever and yet somehow, have never surfed a man-on-man heat together. Today they did, had a great battle, and no matter the result, they both came out with a huge smile on their face, and hugged it out on the beach. (Aritz won, but who cares, really?)
"We've surfed so many heats together in four-man and even three-man heats but this was a first for us," Aritz said. "To have it now, so far down the line in our careers is pretty special. We met probably some 25 years ago and have been traveling and competing together ever since, and still going! It's cool to look back on it, we had a great journey. There's a very friendly vibe here, we just had dinner the other night with half of the Quarterfinalists."
"We like competing so much the both of us, to try to improve every heat and beat each other, it's so much fun!," Hodei added. "There was Gony (Zubizarreta) and Jonathan (Gonzalez) in the Quarters too. If I had to choose between supporting one of them in the semis that'd be hard, I'd probably choose on a flip of a coin!"
Defending Champ Out
The first Quarter came as a shock when Frankie Harrer defeated the defending event champion Claire Bevilacqua in a wave-starved heat. Conditions really showed no mercy for the two surfers as they had to battle it out in less-than-optimal waves.
Coco just came from an equal 3rd at the US Open and looks deadly moving into the European leg of QS in Galicia and the top-tier CT events in Cascais and Hossegor. She made very few mistakes on her way to the Semis here and even though the points aren't what she came for, she'll very likely move on from Pantin super confident and ready to score big at the higher level.
"French summers are amazing, I had the time so I made the effort to come here early to prepare for Pantin," she said. "I've been staying with Maud (Le Car) and Joan (Duru) and it's been great to be here in Anglet. Europe is always the place that keeps you on your toes because it changes so much all the time. I feel like this is one of my weaknesses, adapting, so I came here for a lot of reasons and that is one of them."
"This year on the CT there's so much room to move from 7th to 13th so that's going to be really exciting and it's going to come down to the girls who put in the work through the back half of the year," she added. "Uncle Dino said something really cool to me right before I flew here, he said, 'Take the past five years and all those mistakes, and make these next five years the best five years of your life.' So that's what I'm working on with him, with my dad and with my shaper, and it's been fun!"
No Room For Error For Pauline Ado
A lot of people actually come to the beach to see one surfer in action, and that surfer is Pauline. She's extremely popular in the area and being the 2015 event champion, there's a lot of expectations from everyone involved from the event organizers, the locals, her sponsors and entourage of course. So far it's been going well for Pauline, four heats, four wins. But her heat totals are a bit light compared to some of her opponents and she'll need to step it up on finals day.
"Getting to finals day definitely brings back good memories from when I won the event in 2015," she said. "It's great to have a guaranteed French surfer in the final because so many girls came from all over the world to compete here and we'll fight hard to keep the title here. This season I've surfed a lot of events and it's not always easy to keep your energy and motivation levels up, so I'm happy to get a little rhythm going and make a few heats in a row."
Maud Is Back
Maud Le Car has been trying to qualify for the CT for a few years now, she's had major results at times but is yet to pull a whole season together. 2017 has definitely been a rough one for her, but it seems she's finally broken the curse and today she definitely showed she still wants it, bad.
"I had really tough heats this morning and finally I was able to let go and have more fun in the Quarters," she reflected. "I've had a pretty terrible year and it's great to finally show what I'm capable of. My first experience on the CT in Huntington was a huge confidence boost, just to see that I can actually rival some of the girls and have the level to be there someday."
The final call will happen at 9 a.m Friday morning to launch the finals and crown the 2017 Pro Anglet around midday.
Check out all photos, videos, updates and tune in to the live webcast when the event resumes right here.