A very special day unfolded at the 2017 Junior Pro Biscarrosse as conditions quickly deteriorated from 3-foot, clean and offshore to unruly 10-foot-plus with extreme winds.
A good surprise greeted athletes, officials and the public this morning. The swell had picked up overnight and the wind stayed side offshore most of the morning, offering a nice playing field with several peaks for the competitors. Competition launched running double banks and both the men and women athletes got the show started.
One of the best male performances of the day was offered by Frenchman Youri Conradi, who posted a total heat score of 14.27 as the swell kept building on the wide beach of Biscarrosse.
"It's getting complicated out there," he said. "With the wind, the swell arrives from the south and it's not easy to read the ocean. The rights can be long and offer few opportunities to make some big turns. The left are shorter, more powerful but really fast.
"Last year I had two good opening rounds but in my third heat I hadn't got the expected waves," he continued. "I didn't go to the Junior Pro Caparica this year, but I want to do the few next stops in order to improve my surfing. I would love to go to Kiama, Australia, for the World Junior Championships in January, this is something that I am dreaming about. But this is everyone's dream, and it's hard to qualify."
This morning, Uhaina Joly claimed an outstanding wave combination of 10.27 with two decent rights. The overall line up looked good, but it was not as easy as it looked to catch the good ones.
In the middle of the day, a violent storm came in, but the athletes braved the wind-affected beach break as the low tide gave way to fast and hollow peaks, allowing men's action. Contest directors then made the safe decision to call the event on hold for a few hours, waiting for the situation to improve.
Competition was finally called back on later this afternoon and the men went back out, facing extreme conditions and showing unbelievable commitment, surfing 10-foot-plus waves.
Brittany's Theo Julitte gave his best to get the admiration of the fans with a huge set on the outside, a first-ever performance in such a situation at a surf spot like Biscarrosse. He managed to get a total of 11.17, which allowed him to move ahead to the Round of 32.
As the tide was coming in, the competitors decided to stay in the inside and enjoy smaller, but still impressive waves, allowing them to show off their aerial skills.
Athletes and officials will reconvene at 7 a.m Monday to reassess conditions and finish the event.