Launched in the natural amphitheater setting of Playa de Pantin, European title contenders and internationals fought it out in lackluster surf today. Fortunately as the tide filled in things improved slightly with a snappy little right emerging momentarily at the north end of the beach.
Last-minute entry Mateus Herdy seared through his early heats to advance throughout the day. With his lightning fast above-the-lip antics the Brazilian raised the bar for airs today.
The day's highest heat score went to Paolo Giorgi who nailed an 8.83 in heat 1 of Round 2 with a series of devastating backhand whacks.
"I was paddling and I got lucky with that section," said Giorgi. "I saw the lip and the whole wave just went really well. I was feeling really good after that wave. This is amazing for me."
The lanky regularfoot went on to back up the score with a 6.90, earning him the top two scores in heat 1 in the Round of 64.
As the day advanced and the tide filled in competitors moved from the middle of the beach to the north corner and took advantage of a short-lived rip-able right near the rocks.
In Heat 7 of Round 2 long shot European junior title contender Lenni Jensen came up against the in-form Herdy. While the Brazilian seemed to pounce on every wave that rolled through, Jensen played patient out the back and posted two solid sixes to take the heat.
"At the beginning I just wanted to catch a wave to put a little bit of pressure on the others," said Jensen. "I just kept waiting with priority to catch a bump and yeah, I did it twice and so I got two high scores, and yeah, I did it without falling!"
As the European Junior Title will be decided this weekend, Jensen has set his goals. "I want to make it as far as I can and make it ahead of a couple guys and also finally make it to the WSL World Juniors."
Mignot squeaked through his Round 2 heat behind the in-form Paolo Giorgi while Becret had a major scare in his Round 2 heat as he had trouble finding any waves with decent scoring potential.
"I had a strategy to get the first exchange and that didn't work well. I got a two something and then suddenly I was in fourth priority with, like, a 2.67," said Becret. "I got priority back, then lost it again on a mediocre wave and was back in fourth place again. Then I saw some peaks on the inside and I got the best wave of the heat under priority for another four. But it was really hard."
How does sitting in the number two position in the 2018 European Junior Title race sit with the powerful regular-foot?
"It's a lot of pressure but, I have nothing to lose. I'm in second right now. So I'm just going to give it everything and just enjoy myself."
The women will kick off Round 2 tomorrow around noon. The call for the men's is at 9:20 tomorrow morning.