The Junior Pro Biscarrosse woke up to a glassy, two-to-three foot lineup with super clean lines forming A-frame peaks up and down the beach. Competition resumed at dawn with the men's Round 5, women's Round 3 before going on the common low-tide break. Conditions degraded this afternoon but allowed competition to run two more rounds to decide the men's Quarterfinalists and women's Semifinalists.
Current European No. 3 Justin Becret took yet another last-minute win to advance in pole position into the Quarters. In a tricky first heat this afternoon, waves got a little inconsistent but Becret's strategy to wait patiently for the right ones eventually paid off as he surfed the winning ride in the dying moments. Kepa Housset Ezponda suffered a similar fate and barely moved into second place on his last attempt.
"That was a close one again," Becret said. "It's never the way I picture it to go but it's also kind of out of my hands, there weren't many sets and it was very complicated. The other two surfers were light and technical so Gaizka and I weren't really with the advantage but in the end it worked out well for the Billabong team in this heat."
Erwan Blouin wreaked havoc in the normal process by advancing in first ahead of Marco Mignot in Heat 2. The inconsistent but brilliant surfer posted a big win to send Mignot in the Quarters facing Becret for a spot in the Semis. Currently 15th on the regional rankings, Blouin's lack of title or qualification potential this season could be dangerous for the current frontrunners as the light goofy foot will surf without any pressure in the finals.
"I chose to surf on my own at the beginning and I found some fun waves then in the end I just went with the other guys to try to control the heat," Blouin stated. "I missed the first event on injury, then managed to make the final in the next despite the pain and last week I lost by 0.01 so it was a bit frustrating. I'm here with all my family and friends this week so I really want to try to win this one at home."
Kauli Vaast advanced into the quarters as well and the day's massive upset came with Mathis Crozon's elimination in the last heat of Round 5. The current European No. 1 tied with Mignot will see his chances of keeping the lead diminished with a 9th place in Biscarrosse.
In the women's, the opening Quarterfinal looked more like a Final as the current European No. 1 and 2, Anat Lelior and Melania Diaz did battle in the shifty peaks late this afternoon. In a low scoring affair, Lelior's busy strategy of surfing nearly every wave she came upon paid off as the Israeli built a medium heat total but enough to take the win.
"I was really focused in this heat, I knew it was important to make it and the waves weren't easy so I stayed alert," Lelior said. "I'm kind of used to these conditions, we get very similar waves at home so I sort of knew what to do."
The current No. 3 Nadia Erostarbe took the final qualifying spot for the semis and is definitely still in the run for this year's title as well, heading into the finals of the Junior Pro Biscarrosse. With a runner-up and an equal third on her season tally, a big result this week could propel the Basque surfer to the top of the rankings.
Surfers and event officials will reconvene at 7 a.m Saturday for the men and 8 a.m for the women.
Tune in from May 16-20, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here.