Jonathan Gonzalez and Ariane Ochoa have won the inaugural QS1,000 Pro A Coruña today in shifting three-to-five foot surf at the secondary venue of play de Caion.
The women's final was first to hit the water, with all surfers opting to sit out the back on the low tide bank instead of in the shore break like the previous heats had seen. The slow matchup witnessed Ariane Ochoa (EUK), 18, capitalize early with a two-turn combo on an outside set to take an early lead. The moving lineup served fast-breaking, short rides only allowing one or two maneuvers and kept all athletes scores in the average range. All following efforts from her opponents proved insufficient and the Basque junior claimed her first-ever Qualifying Series win.
"I'm so incredibly happy today, I felt a little bit frustrated with my second place in the Juniors yesterday, I have worked hard for it and I hoped to take it out," she reflected.
"But today I came with a positive frame of mind thinking this was another opportunity so I'm stoked to win. I've always looked up to Pauline since I was really young and to surf against her today and win is very special. She's an amazing surfer and a fantastic person, I hope I get to travel and surf with her again in the future."
Placing second to Ochoa today was former Championship Tour competitor Pauline Ado (FRA), 25, who couldn't execute her game plan as expected in the tricky conditions and was left chasing a medium score for the pole position. Today's second place for Ado comforts her lead in the European title race as surfers will move onto the next event in Portugal in two weeks.
"I'm really disappointed because I thought it would be a great battle out there and with much better scores, I think maybe expecting too much beforehand got me overlooking opportunities," she analyzed. "I'm happy for Ariane, she's done really well and definitely deserved her win today."
The men's final was a two-way battle between Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), 35, and Jorgann Couzinet (REU) who immediately put their opponents out of reach of the title with a solid 9-point ride each on similar solid right-handers with huge turns and maximum risk taking.
Gonzalez backed it up with a good 7.17 ride for the lead and despite two very close attempts from the Reunion Island surfer, Canarian Gonzalez stayed on top and claimed his second QS win this season after winning in Zarautz earlier this Spring.
"I wish I could do this good at a QS10,000, but to win two events in Europe is pretty amazing," he said. "This particular event was incredible, having everyone involved in all categories made it really fun and I'm stoked to take out the first one. That final was really fun, we had big rights and that's what I prefer, I thought my board was a little bit small for it but it worked out. I'll move onto the next few events feeling confident and I'll try to stay relaxed and have fun like I did here, it's definitely the only way to surf your absolute best."
Couzinet never backed down and tried his best up until the final horn sounded, but following his excellent first turns, the young surfer couldn't stick his final maneuver and was forced to place runner-up. A surfer on the rise, Couzinet reached the final of a QS event for the first time in his young career and will be a force to be reckoned with in the near-future.
"I really thought I was going to win that one when I got the 9, but I fell on the two important waves where I could have gotten another big score," he said. "I think I still lack confidence and maybe take a little too much risk considering the circumstances. But I can feel all the hard work is paying off and I'm close to getting where I want, on top of a podium!"
Today concludes the inaugural A Coruña Surf Fest, an exciting new event hosting all categories of surfing for a total of over 150 athletes competing in Galicia.