When conditions get tough experience plays a major role, whether it's priority management, nerves control or lineup positioning among other things. Today with the top seeds entering the Martinique Surf Pro in Round Three, it was transparent who had years of competing at the highest level and who was a bit short on experience.
Nerves of Steel
Jorgann Couzinet isn't actually the most experienced competitor out there, but his recent progression - 112th to 18th on the QS in one year - proves he's working the right angles and learning as much as he can every step of the way.
Today his heat strategy was tested as the Reunion Island surfer waited a whole 15 minutes to start on his first wave. But, when the right wave came Jorgann made sure he was on it and surfed it to its best potential, nailing an 8.17. Still, needing something ridiculous under 2 points to make the heat, the win didn't come easy and Jorgann continued to be selective, ultimately finding a decent backup for his spot into Round Four.
"I've been working on wave selection with Martin Dunn and he's got this sick little tool like a chart to help," he said. "Analyzing the spot I've also found the spot I wanted to sit in and thankfully it worked out, even though I have to admit I was definitely feeling the pressure."
CTers Lead the Way
In terms of experience, spending one or more seasons with the World's Best 34 surfers is second to none. In Round Three and Four, most former Championship Tour competitors showed why they have what it takes to mingle with the very best of our sport.
"It's tough to get a good wave out there but when you put yourself on the good ones with a cleaner face it's easier to score," Nat said. "It's pretty similar to stuff I surf at home, that inside section is identical to parts of the wave at Steamer Lane so I feel really comfortable out there."
Of course they're not here just for the party either, the goal for anyone who has had experience on the CT is to get back there as early as possible, and maybe having tasted it makes them just a little hungrier.
"My goal is definitely to get back on tour," he continued. "I'm taking things a little slower and going event by event, stop looking so far ahead. I'm focused on this one right now and having a lot of fun surfing in the Caribbean, it's a first time for me."
Caribbean Crew's Rollercoaster Day
It's a small crew and surely not as tight as other nations, but for the Martinique crowds, anyone surfing for any of the islands in the region is home, and they're going to be cheered on with heart.
It started well with Guadeloupe's Charly Martin and Timothee Bisso advancing, but quickly went sideways with St-Barth's Dimitri Ouvre and local talents Alexandre Viguier and Arthur Lassee eliminated in Round Three. Charly and Tim unfortunately suffered the same fate in Round Four.
Fortunately Barbados' Joshua Burke added one for the team, with the day's highest combined heat total for his spot into Round Four. Josh recently won his first QS event and looks like he wants more, surfing convincingly to a solid 15.34 heat total.
"I decided to sit deeper than everyone and as soon as I paddled over there that set came to me and I got that 8.17," he said. "Even without priority I figured sitting way out if a set came the other guys couldn't get, so I'm happy it worked out well. It's similar enough that it feels like home out there in the water so I'm stoked. I'm super happy with how my season is shaping up and hopefully I can keep it up."
Competitors and event officials will be on deck early again Friday with a 7:30 a.m call for both men and women athletes.
Tune in from March 17-24, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!s