The Caparica Primavera Surf Fest launched today in good three-to-four foot waves and completed a total of 52 heats of both the Men's Caparica Pro pres. by Matta and Men's Caparica Junior Pro pres. by Caparica Sun Center, splitting the action on two banks.
The festival brings together surfers from different generations and is a unique occasion for the juniors to enter a QS as well, and gauge their performance level against older, stronger, more experienced competitors.
As the event launched with only the men's QS and Junior early rounds, the latter had a proper taste of the so-called grind, surfing up to four heats in a day. Not only that but basically stayed all-day in a wetsuit, fighting the cold water and hot sun outside.
We decided to catch up with the semifinalists of the Junior Pro Espinho that finished yesterday afternoon about three hours up the road near Oporto. These guys surfed through countless heats in Espinho to make the finals rounds, hopped in their teams' cars and drove down to Caparica to start bright and early this morning.
Men's QS Round Two, Heat 1:
Justin Becret had no trouble whatsoever adapting to the new spot and new crowd, winning both his heats in the QS today, and building momentum to post an impressive 13.77 win over long-time competitors Roberto D'Amico and Julen Egiguren .
"It's definitely been a busy week and we're starting another, but I'm trying my best to rest in between heats and we train a lot so the fatigue isn't too bad," he said. "I really have no pressure in the QS because my main focus is still on the juniors for now, so I surf maybe a little more freely and apparently it works out. I'm stoked about the waves, this peak was great with a really good right."
Men's QS Round Two, Heat 2:
Lenni Jensen had a slightly closer affair in his Round Two matchup, but eventually placed second to Edouard Delpero and kept his QS run alive. The German-born surfer, who learnt to surf and was raised in the Canary Islands, burst on the map with his equal third in Espinho yesterday and will have the difficult task to now surf with a target on his back, as a potential qualifier for the World Juniors under the European banner.
"I'm just trying to hold on to that good rhythm I have coming in from Espinho," he said. "I can't believe how good the waves are, so I'm just trying to be patient and wait for the bombs. I've made a couple of mistakes in that last heat but I'm learning, I'm trying to surf smart when I have the priority. Everyone here just wants to win their heat, so Juniors or QS I don't really see a difference in our approach."
Men's QS Round Two, Heat 4:
The reigning European Junior champ' Kauli Vaast just made the final in Espinho and started his season with a runner-up, exactly the same way he finished last season in Sopela to claim his first regional title.
Granted his heat today resembled more that of a Pro Junior with three surfers under-18, but he was still judged on the same scale as everyone else. The Tahitian brought his under-the-lip backside vertical attack in the punchy rights and posted two 7+ waves, then an 8.07 to take an easy win and ticket into Round Three.
"It was hard last week just coming from Tahiti and adapting to the really cold water and we had hard waves too," he said. "But I'm super happy with that second place in Espinho and happy to start with a win here. I've had to wait around all day cause I was in the very last heat so I tried to stay focused and only had a little free surf in the morning to warm up to the conditions today."
Conditions became extremely difficult for the judges late this afternoon as the infamous Portuguese glare made it virtually impossible to recognize colors in the lineup, even forcing a re-surf of one heat of the junior's event.
So unfortunately our fourth subject of study, Mathis Crozon who won the Juniors in Espinho yesterday, was coming up in Heat 5 when the call was made to hold off and reschedule that heat for tomorrow morning! To be continued..
Surfers and organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m Tuesday for an early start of the QS in expected great conditions again.
Tune in from March 26-31, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!