The Airwalk Lacanau Pro Junior launched today in pumping conditions at the Grande Plage of Lacanau. The storm that hit France on Friday let way to a bumpy four-to-five foot swell in the morning, further cleaning out throughout the day to deliver pumping surf for the latter heats. South-Africans and Australians stole the show on the opening day of competition and will be facing European top seeds when the event resumes.
Slade Prestwich (ZAF) 20, was the first and only surfer so far to score above the nine point range, with two solid turns on a big powerful righthander. Prestwich's commitment in the powerful closing sections made a big difference and allowed the regular-footer to score a 9.03 on his first wave in Round 2, as well as back it up with a solid 7.93 in the following minutes.
"I was hoping I'd get a few barrels cause it took me so long to paddle out," Prestwich explained. "It's really heavy on the inside and I was hoping I could sneak a little one. I've been here a few times and it's always fun, the waves are great. Both heats were fun today and I'm going to go for another surf now."
South-African compatriot Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 18, wasn't shy on dropping big scores either, making his way into the third round of competition with two solid heat totals including a 16.33. His lightning fast turns on the clean set waves were rightly rewarded and his future opponents will know McGillivray means business on his first visit to France.
"I'm really happy to have made it through, the waves are nice and big today," McGillivray stated. "It made things interesting in this heat I had to do quite a few runarounds. I definitely enjoy size but it was difficult cause it broke all-over the place and choosing the right one wasn't that easy. It's really great to have this contest before the QS to warm up and get to know the waves here."
Cronulla local Shane Campbell (AUS) 20, racked up an impressive 15.93 to advance ahead of fellow Aussie Louis Gillick (AUS). It took the young surfer a few waves to find his rhythm but when he did, Campbell built momentum to post three big scores consecutively, making the situation more and more complicated for his opponents.
"It's my first time in Europe, I came here to use the Pro Junior as a warm-up for the QS next week so I'm hoping to do well," Campbell said. "Looking at it from here it looks fun but when you're out there it's really tricky to find where to sit. But when you get a clean face it's really fun. It's a big shorey and waves out the back, exactly what I thought it would be like actually."
Cody Robinson (AUS) 18, was another standout in today's tricky conditions, advancing through two rounds as well. In the cleaner afternoon session, Robinson even managed to lock in a clean Lacanau barrel for an excellent 8.17 and the win.
"That last heat was sick, a couple little barrels the waves were fun !" Robinson said. "I already had two scores and thought I might as well try. I got a set and started with a little carve, then had to pump like three times to get in and just as it was closing down I managed to sneak out so yeah I was stoked. There's a big field here but I'm excited and I want to win !"
The opening round of the women's event was also completed on Day 2 with newcomers battling the wild conditions for a spot into the top seeds second round.
The event will resume on Sunday at 7:30AM with a potential start of either the Men's or Women's event.