- WSL / Laurent Masurel
- WSL / Laurent Masurel
Highlights: Junior Pro Espinho Gears Up Towards Exciting Finals
Junior Pro Espinho conquers two sand banks and unfolds in windy surf.

The Junior Pro Espinho continued with again episodes of fog forcing organizers to delay the start of the first heats. When conditions cleared competition resumed and decided the event's semifinalists.

Competition resumed just before noon with the remaining heats of the men's third round on double banks. With the wind and current adding texture to the wave's face, the north bank provided its usual left hander while further south a nice right hander had formed on the outside, converting into a left closer to shore, with good powerful sections.

French goofy footer Lens Arancibia Avila (FRA), 18, dominated his heat on the south bank with a strong performance to advance through the rounds with confidence. With a 14.50 combined heat total under the belt, he insured his way into round 4 and confirmed that the backup spot had what it took to post excellent scores.

"My second wave was really good, the right is fun on the south bank", he said. "That's my first heat in the event so I'm really happy with the result. We couldn't hear very well because of the wind, and I didn't think I would post a score as high as 8.33."

Lens Arancibia Avila (FRA) .Francisco Almeida (PRT) .Espinho 2016 Lens Arancibia Avila explored the left as well - WSL / Laurent Masurel

With the wind reinforcing and waves getting smaller, Leo-Paul Etienne (GLP), 17, fired up on the north bank left hander. After a slow start and a fair combination for his compatriot Theo Julitte (GLP), Etienne managed to reverse the situation and take the win with an excellent 8.50, backed up with a 5.60.

"I had a 4 and no back up and Theo was in the lead with two average waves, but conditions were dropping and it's fast. After ten minutes I got my best wave and then I managed to improve my backup." he explained.

He later confirmed his new found form with a solid strategy to obtain the highly coveted ticket for the semifinals.

Leo Paul Etienne (GLP).Espinho 2016 Leo-Paul Etienne hitting the lip - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Canarian Luis Diaz, 17, drew the attention to him again and got his round 4 bout underway posting a 8.93 and a 5.90 on the south bank. The quarterfinals were just a mere walk in the park for the young surfer who advanced into the semis with a solid 14.84 total.

Luis Diaz (CNY) .Espinho 2016 Luis Diaz frontside snap - WSL / Laurent Masurel

One of the youngest competitors, Tiago Carrique (FRA), 14, succeeded twice going through two heats and getting his very own spot for the semis.

"There were only small waves at the beginning, so I waited patiently," he reflected. "Then the set came but I didn't have priority. I let the first one to the other guy and finally it turned out the second wave was better and I got my best score. I went straight back to the line up and got a good backup."

Tiago Carrique (FRA) .Espinho 2016 Young Tiago Carrique on a ramp - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Portuguese Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), 16, found a good rhythm and had a chance to exploit the south bank's left hander combining powerful turns. A smart and experienced competitor, Bonvalot chose the best option surfing a wave offering the best wall and multiple scoring opportunities. She will be Portugal's lone representative in the semifinals when competition recommences.

Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) .Espinho 2016 Teresa Bonvalot flying over her heat - WSL / Laurent Masurel

On the alternative podium, Nadia Erostarbe (EUK), 16, found her pace and took out quarterfinal N°2, eliminating reigning European Junior Women's champion Juliette Brice (FRA) in the process.

"I took the first one, and made a cut back and several turns and this is where I scored," she explained. "It's very difficult out there, but if you're patient and wait for the good one, you can really exploit the different sections and get the points."

Both men and women semifinals contenders are now decided and contest officials will reconvene on Sunday to make a call at 11AM and complete the event.

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