The Las Americas Pro Tenerife came to a close today in super fun three-to-four foot surf to crown Ruben Vitoria and Mikaela Greene as the event champions. Slow and small conditions early this morning gave way to more sets and clean, long lefts for an exciting finals day at Las Americas.
Here's a heat-by-heat recap of all that went down on the infamous "Isquierda de la Palmeras" left reef.
Men's Final: Ruben Vitoria vs. Jorgann Couzinet
Jorgann continues his path of destruction with a right-hander for a change, and goes for the air right on the horn to post an 8.67 and clearly state his intentions to take it out. He then nabs a really fun left and posts an even better 8.83 to put Ruben in combo-land!
Twenty minutes in, Ruben finally gets a good wave and performs five sick turns on his backhand for a 9.10 that puts him right back in the heat. High on confidence, the Basque paddles back out and finds an absolute bomb, tears it apart from start to finish and posts the first and only perfect 10 point ride across the board to unbelievably put Jorgann in combo-land now!
Jorgann tries but there's no way to climb out of that pothole and eventually Ruben claims his first ever QS title with a near-perfect heat total of 19.10.
"I was in combo but I always thought I had a shot so I tried to stay relaxed and focus," he said. "When I saw that bomb I knew it had the potential to get the score and honestly when I finished the wave I kinda knew I had done the job, it was incredible. It's a dream come true for me to win this event."
Jorgann still surfed some really solid heats on his way to the final and only looks more determined to keep the ball rolling, focused on his goal of qualifying for the Championship Tour.
"I've seen him surf this week and I knew he was capable of what he just did," he said. "I had two good waves but I didn't manage to push my turns as much as I wanted. It was a tough final to lose but I accept it and it only motivates me even more to go back to training to avoid that in the future."
Women's Final: Pauline Ado vs. Mikaela Greene
The best two surfers all week meet logically in the final. Pauline and Mikaela get a first wave early, Pauline gets the best looking one but Mikaela attacks hers more vertically and turns in a stronger score, 7.00 over Pauline's 5.67. The French adds another medium score, then a 6+ to her heat tally to claim an early lead on the final.
A little after mid-final, Mikaela finds a great wave this time and continues to apply her vertical, radical backhand attack of the left walls to post an 8.90 and take pole position. Pauline at this point basically needs two more waves, or a near-impossible 9.33 to overtake Mikaela.
Time runs out and the situation remains unchanged, with the Australian crowned the 2018 Las Americas Pro Tenerife Champion.
"I have a lot of respect for Pauline as an athlete so I knew I had a tough heat ahead of me and I had to bring my A-Game," she said. "I'm really happy I was able to find a few waves and stoked the waves stuck around for the finals. I have a couple of big events at home coming up so I'll definitely take some confidence out of this win and try to carry it into the next few events."
Pauline nabs a runner-up finish and keeps her good form going before the all-important Australian QS leg coming up.
"I'm a little bit disappointed about my final but overall very happy with my week here in Tenerife," she said. "I'm a hard worker and I'll keep trying to improve all the time, I know I need to get more power into my turns and I'm also working on mental preparation. I can't wait for the next ones!"
Men's Semifinal #1: Ruben Vitoria vs. Julen Egiguren
The first half of the heat is a slow affair with only Ruben finding a decent little wave to manufacture a 6.50. Things heat up with a back-to-back exchange from the two Basque surfers around the 15-minute mark, Julen getting the nod with an impressive display of forehand snaps and carves for a 7.50. He quickly backs it up with a 4.83 to take the lead.
Ruben turns the heat again with only couple of minutes remaining, posting a 6.20 to push Julen right against the ropes. Julen fights his way on a couple of last tries but comes up short and places equal third.
"Ruben is a really good friend and we had an intense heat," he said. "I got a good wave but unfortunately it wasn't enough. We had super fun waves, even small, they're real quality waves and I had a great time here this week. I'll try to take this experience and confidence into the next European events in a couple of months."
Men's Semifinal #2: Gearoid McDaid vs. Jorgann Couzinet
Well, let's just say that one was cut short when Jorgann caught two bombs and posted a 9.00 and a 9.53 to claim his ticket for the final in under three minutes.
Gearoid had a great run all the way into the semis but unfortunately clearly found a stronger surfer then and could only settle for third place.
"It was a tough one, there were great waves but I just seemed to pick the wrong ones," he said. "I'm stoked on getting my best result ever and hopefully can keep it up in the next few ones. I look forward to Martinique, it's a righthand point break so completely different, but we also have waves like that at home so I'm confident I can surf well there."
Women's Semifinal #1: Pauline Ado vs. Maud Le Car
Both surfers split the peak only two minutes in, Pauline starts strong with two good turns on a really fun left, but falls on the third. Maud opts for the right and locks in two turns as well but with less power and flow. Pauline gets the nod with a 7 over Maud's low opening score. Pauline quickly backs up her first wave with a nice little left again for a 6 and a strong hold on the lead.
Pauline continues to improve her backup slightly while Maud struggles to find the right waves and score above the average range. She starts on a couple of good sized sets and shows excellent first turns, but Maud's luck runs out when both her waves die off quickly after the first maneuver.
The story remains unchanged, Pauline gets a few fun waves but falls on a few occasions, though she's made her damage before, while Maud can't find the good ones and despite surfing well, bow out in equal third.
"It wasn't my best event, I never really felt like I surfed well," she said. "But it's always nice to come to a new location and I had a fun time here at Las Americas, it's a really nice place. I'm off to Australia now and can't wait to try to get more of a winning form there."
Women's Semifinal #2: Marion Philippe vs. Mikaela Greene
Marion and Mikaela have a slower start and exchange smaller waves for a while, putting their first scores on the board but not getting much of a situation going. Midway through the heat, Mikaela starts on a better left and locks in three great turns, putting in all on the line and finishing on dry reef for an excellent 8 point ride and the lead.
Only three minutes later, the Aussie gets another good wave for a 7 and buries Marion's hopes of a place in the final a little deeper.
Needing a near-perfect 9.6 to turn the heat, the inexperienced Tahitian doesn't let the pressure affect her and gives a final last effort with a minute on the clock. Marion starts on the biggest wave of the heat and performs super radical surfing to post a 9.17, the highest score of the heat by far. Unfortunately time winds down quickly and she's unable to get another wave before the horn sounds.
With a second event completed for the men and a first for the women, the new European Top 5 stand as follows:
Men's European Top 5:
Women's European Top 5:
The next event counting towards the European rankings will be the men and women's QS3,000 Martinique Surf Pro, from March 17-24.
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