Swatch Girls Pro France Junior

Keely Andrew Wins Swatch Girls Pro France Junior

Andrew victorious in Seignosse
Keely Andrew (AUS) Wins the Swatch Girls Pro France Junior !!

PLAGE DES BOURDAINES, Seignosse / France - Keely Andrew (AUS) 19, has won the Swatch Girls Pro France Junior in a hard-fought Final disputed in 1-to-2-foot waves.

Andrew, an excellent performer all week and still in contention in the 6-Star event, took out the tight battle for the win in which all four surfers took more than ten waves each.

Keely Andrew (AUS) Andrew on her way to victory. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

“I'm super relieved, you know coming all the way from Australia, you look to surf a lot of heats,” Andrew said. “Fortunately I was able to do that and take the win ! It's amazing, it was my first year here last year and to come back and see all the people who come here and check it out it's awesome and gives you a lot of motivation.”

A former Semifinalist of the main event in 2013, Andrew will look to go one heat further and secure a historic double victory at the Swatch Girls Pro France.

“I'm with my parents here, but there won't be too many celebrations tonight, I still have to surf the QS tomorrow,” Andrew added. “All my attention was always on the QS but this is a nice bonus to pick-up along the way. The standard of women's surfing at the moment is so high, I'm going to have to step it up again and find enough motivation !”

Holly-Sue Coffey (AUS) 16, took out runner-up, falling short of finding a required 5.17 to steal the lead. The talented Australian, also engaged in the QS Round of 12 when competition resumes, will have a second chance at the top spot tomorrow.

Holly-Sue Coffey (AUS) Coffey, a surfer to be reckoned with in the QS - WSL / Laurent Masurel

“I'm feeling a little disappointed cause I came all the way here to win,” Coffey stated. “But second place is a good result, the waves weren't too good, but I'm happy for Keely. To get that out of the way is good, this whole day has been emotional for all the girls with ups-and-downs. I'm really ready for whenever the comp's on to try and win that thing.”

Mahina Maeda (HAW) 16, was the unfortunate third-placer of this Final. Despite scoring the highest single score of the 25-minute bout, Maeda's heat total was affected due to an interference call in the opening exchange with winner Keely Andrew.

Mahina Maeda (HAW) Mahina was the strongest scorer today - WSL / Laurent Masurel

“It was pretty disappointing when I got that interference, it was kind of out of the ordinary,” Maeda commented. “I wanted to win this, especially cause I was the only Hawaiian in the final, and I wanted to prove a point. But I'm really stoked for Keely, Holly and Mikaela because we surfed a bunch of rounds in hard conditions. Everybody's talented and can get scores out there, I was just out of luck.”

Despite hearing the beach announcer call out her interference, synonym of a second-best score divided in half, the young Hawaiian kept her composure and tried all the way into the final seconds to find a good wave and score enough for the win.

“I tried to fight my way up there, I've actually won a national title in the same circumstances with an interference so I knew it was possible,” Maeda reflected. “I've been posting pretty big scores out there, so it gave me confidence that I could do it. I'm definitely learning from my mistakes and I'll take all this knowledge on into my next heats in the main event tomorrow.”

Mikaela Greene (AUS) 20, collected fourth place, needing only a small score to take first but unable to find a decent opportunity in the bumpy lineup.

Mikaela Greene (AUS) Greene, all-smiles after a previous win today - WSL / Laurent Masurel

“It was definitely super difficult conditions,” Greene admitted. “I'm stoked for Keely and the rest of the girls for doing so well out there. I'm happy just to make it to the final today ! It was a really fun final, we were all hassling each other but at the end of the day there's a good camaraderie between all of us Australians. It's really luck of the draw as well, sometimes the waves look like they're going to wall up and run but end up fattening out.”

Tessa Thyssen (GLP) 17, last European contender in the Junior event today, placed equal fifth to solidify her lead on the regional Junior series.

“The waves were really tough, but it was a matter of finding the force and determination to fight out there and give it your best,” Tyssen said. “I'm stoked to still be on top of the European rankings, but it's a very tight race and we're going to take it to the Canaries. I'm super happy with the opportunity to battle it out with other international surfers here and I'm looking forward to the final event.”

Sunday, a call at 7:00am will see surfers and event officials reassess conditions for a potential final day of competition of the ASP 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France.