Women's Final: Pauline Ado vs. Leticia Canales Bilbao
The Final started really slowly with barely anything ridden in the first 10 minutes and both surfers making mistakes on their first wave. Midway through Pauline built a score base with two average rides and pushed Leticia against the ropes as conditions kept deteriorating.
On the 10-minute mark, the French surfer finally found a better wave and navigated the bumps to push three decent turns and post a 6.00. Leticia caught a fun little left quickly after and posted her best score to stay in the fight. But as time continued to run out, opportunities were extremely rare and the situation remained unchanged, Pauline claiming her second Pro Zarautz title in as many participations.
"I'm super happy, I haven't had great results in recent events so this feels really good," she said. "I really love this place, the people and the waves so it feels great to win again here. I love trying to improve myself in every way, surfing, physical and mental strength so that's what keeps me going. I still have a lot of fun in my heats too."
After five full seasons on the Championship Tour, Pauline's effort to requalify could be kickstarted by today's win in Zarautz as she adds 1,500 points to her 2018 tally.
"Obviously my goal is to requalify," she added. "I haven't had the best season on tour last year and I feel like I could have done so much better. Hopefully this win gives me a good boost and I can go and get more points on the bigger events."
Unfortunate in the final, Basque surfer Leticia Canales Bilbao had a good run through the earlier rounds and built momentum with each heat surfed. Runner-up in Pantin three years ago, Leticia equalled her best-ever result with a second place today.
"I found some waves but I was really cold in the end and couldn't really surf like I wanted," she said. "It's a pity because I've surfed better and better throughout the event. I wanted the txapela (traditional Basque hat for the winner) but it wasn't meant for me today. We were unlucky because the wind came up strong during the finals. I got a few waves but Pauline surfed better than me... This is part of the competition!"
Men's Final: Jorgann Couzinet vs. Maxime Huscenot
The wind backed off a bit and waves improved drastically for the all-Reunion Island affair. Maxime and Jorgann started with a good score early on, Maxime with the nod and a 7 over Jorgann's 6.17. But Jorgann found a bomb a little bit later and posted an excellent 9 point ride with his signature raw surfing and led the affair from there.
Maxime tried repeatedly to come back but the waves never fully cooperated and when the buzzer sounded Jorgann came out victorious.
"I made the final last year here so I'm stoked to win it this time," he said. "I was with my good mate in the water and that was really fun, we wanted to give a good show. I'm getting more and more confident with every event and I have great support which definitely helps."
Maxime did, however, claim the Oakley Best Wave of the event and a bonus US$500 for a 9.77 in the Quarters yesterday. Powerful and stylish, his surfing has matured lately, and his recent success in Barbados and Zarautz could give him the extra motivation and confidence to rise up on the QS for a shot at the WSL Championship Tour.
"We could have used a few more sets in that Final but it was a fun heat with Jorgann," he said. "We had great waves this week and I had a great time again in Zarautz. Since I changed boards last year I've felt my surfing has improved a lot and I can see it in the results. These are small events but they're great to redefine everything and prepare for the big ones coming."
The next stop on the European Qualifying Series will take surfers down to Portugal for the Pro Santa Cruz 2018 pres. by Oakley later this month.
With the completion of the Pro Zarautz, here are the new current European rankings Top 5:
Find out all the results, photos, video highlights and daily recaps from Zarautz right here