Maud Le Car (FRA), 23, and Pedro Henrique (PRT), 33, have won the Men's QS1,500 and Women's QS1,000 SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Billabong today in wind-affected, three-to-four foot surf at Kontiki Beach.
Henrique had a near-perfect campaign in Israel, claiming five heat wins including several of the event's highest single wave scores and combined heat totals to finally claim the US$10,000 check and 1,500 ranking points. The former CT competitor demonstrated the variety of his surfing repertoire with big airs and solid carves all throughout the event's waiting period.
"I'm over the moon, I came here not feeling 100 percent and managed to build my form in this event so to finally win is incredible," Henrique reflected. "I'm going to go home and train more to be ready for the next events, it's amazing to start the year like this but the season is long. This was one of my favorite trips ever, I didn't know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised by everything. The people were incredible to us, the places we visited have so much history and we also got some fun waves."
Tahiti's Mihimana Braye (PYF), 20, confirmed he's one of the best up-and-coming surfers on the European and international tours, with incredible performances in Netanya before the final heat where he unfortunately couldn't find the right waves to perform on.
"I tried to keep the same strategy I used since the beginning but somehow it completely fell apart in the Final," Braye analyzed. "But that's how it goes, there's always a little bit of luck involved, today it wasn't on my side. Hats off to Pedro, he surfed really well. My dream is to win a QS event so I'll keep at it. I've heard a lot of things about this country but what I found here was incredible. The people are very passionate about surfing and they showed us huge support."
In the women's division, Maud Le Car started her final with a solid seven-point ride and right away applied pressure on her opponent Camilla Kemp (PRT), 19. An experienced competitor and fresh off another win in California, Le Car quickly backed it up and was never put in danger in the Final, eventually collecting the 1,000 ranking points on offer and the prestigious first-ever Israeli QS title.
"I'm super happy, I feel like I'm on a good roll and that all the work put into it starts paying off," Le Car stated. "I've managed to stay consistent in very different conditions over these past two events and that gives me a lot of confidence for the next ones. I was surprised with the quality of waves we got here and I'm stoked to have seized the opportunity to come to Israel. The local surfers here start to be really good and I hope they will continue to improve, they have good conditions and the potential to succeed."
Kemp, who had just placed equal fifth in the Ericeira World Junior Championships a couple of weeks earlier, confirmed her good form in Israel with three wins on her way to her first-ever QS final. The young Portuguese got busy in the lineup and took a lot of waves but couldn't quite find the open shoulders to perform her best surfing and had to settle for runner-up.
"It was so difficult out there, I'm a little disappointed but still pretty happy with that result overall," Kemp admitted. "Maud is a great surfer and it was a pleasure to surf a final against her. I had a really fun stay here, we had some good waves on and off the event and it was a great experience all together."
Alonso Correa (PER), 18, had a good run in Israel and proved versatile in the variety of conditions surfers encountered this past week, only to be stopped in the Semifinals by runner-up Braye. Correa belts a career-high result and will look to keep his excellent form through the remainder of the 2016 season.
"This is a great result for me, unfortunately I couldn't find any good wave out there today, but I'm happy and excited for this season," Correa said. "My goal is to make the Top 100 and get into the big events. I've had a wonderful stay in Israel, the local people have been really nice to us, cheering us on the waves. We had some good waves and interesting visits like Jerusalem the other day, I'll be back!"
Ethan Egiguren (EUK), 21, equalled his career-best result with an equal-third place in Netanya, unable to overcome Henrique in their Semifinal matchup. The young Basque surfer gave it his 100% and exchanged the lead with the Portuguese multiple times over their 30-minute bout, but eventually was left chasing a big score after a final blast from Henrique.
"I tried to stay very active and take a lot of waves cause it's hard to tell which ones are going to be good," Egiguren reflected. "I'm very happy with this result, 840 points is a good start, I'm going to do a lot of events this year and I hope I can do good again. We had a fun time here in Israel and I can't wait for next time."