It's Not Over 'Til It's Over
The women's final was an amazing battle between Anderson and Californian super-grom Kirra Pinkerton. It started with a couple of average scores before Kirra stepped foot on the gas to put a 7.33 on the board mid-way through.
It was unbelievable that the surfer attacking the rights with speed, power and flow (reminds you of something right?) was only 14 years old; she surfed like a QS veteran and really pushed Philippa against the ropes.
But the Aussie never gave up and when she was presented with a final wave in the dying seconds of the final, she all but cracked under pressure, pushing every turn to the limit for an excellent 8.33. With that score the two surfers actually tied. The rule, however, is that the surfer with the highest single score takes the win, and so did Philippa, for the second time this season.
"I'm really happy with that win, earlier in the year I was in a similar situation where I needed a 9 in the last 30 seconds and I got the score," she said. "It boosts your confidence when you know you can get the score under pressure like that. I've been working really hard this year and it's good to see it pay off like it has."
"It's been a long few years on the QS and it seems this year I'm finally finding my groove," she added. "Kirra is an amazing surfer and she should really be proud of herself, I know when I was her age I was definitely not making finals like that.
Kirra is definitely a name you should now keep an eye out for. The kid from San Clemente surfed well beyond her age and had an absolute dream run in Lacanau, eliminating the defending event champ Ella Williams and former World Junior Champion Mahina Maeda on her way to the Final.
Having skills is one thing, but the San Clemente local also showed determination, a really smart strategy and above all commitment to some of the heavier sections she surfed. She's the complete package.
"This is definitely the best result I've ever had so I'm super happy with that," she said. "She won on the count back but we tied so that was very close! The next two events are both really good so I'm excited to go there and visit. This was my first time in France and I loved it, oh my god the food was amazing!!"
The men's Final looked a whole of the same between two powerful goofy foots, except well, the ending was even more dramatic.
Marc Lacomare and Dean Bowen were the strongest surfers on finals day, using every inch of wave face on offer to do huge turns on their backhand. Dean got the best of their first exchange with an excellent 8.17 over Marc's 7.33. They again went blow-for-blow on back-to-back waves, but this time the Frenchman found a cleaner face that stayed vertical longer and he was the one with an advantage, 8.50 over 7.07 for the lead.
In a similar scenario than the women's Final, it all seemed set in stone until Dean found a good wave with two minutes on the clock. He surfed it all the way to shore and actually came in, thinking he had done the job. The next minute and a half were probably the longest of Marc's life, as he had to wait it out in the lineup, hoping the judges would call a small score.
7.30. Which was Dean's second-best score, and a great one, but just .37 shy of what he needed to turn the heat, and so Marc's arms went high up in the air. He was denied a Final in Lacanau twice in the past and finally made it all the way.
"I'm super happy, I've come close here a few times and it's great to finally win it!," Marc said. "1,500 points could be a keeper in the end, but above all it's a great way to build confidence towards the two QS 6,000 [events] coming up. I wanted to test some boards as well and try to surf smart and have fun so all together a great experience this week in Lacanau. I wanted to take a few lefts and try some airs, but Dean was strong on his backhand and I thought it was a better idea to fight him on an even field."
Dean's surfing was pretty much on par with Marc's and it eventually really came down to wave selection, and probably a little bit of luck. The Australian claims his season-best result so far and will jump a few spots on the rankings, so all in all a very good week for the ever-smiling Gerroa surfer.
"I left it all out in the water and gave it everything I got," Bowen said. "I've always admired Marc's surfing and I'm stoked to have surfed a Final with him. I had a lot of fun and it gets the ball rolling for me. I've had a pretty rough year and surfing such good waves like that, with heat scores over 14 in almost all my heats feels really good."
With the Caraïbos Lacanau Pro completed today, the new European QS Top 5 is as follows:
Check out all photos, videos, updates and tune in to the live webcast when the event resumes right here.
Surfers now have the luxury of a single day off before they move on to the QS 1,500 Pro Anglet, starting Tuesday.