It's been an extremely intense three days on the Caparica coastline, on the South bank of the Tagus river, opposite the capital city of Lisbon. Waves have been pumping, not big, but super fun, rippable rights and lefts in the three-to-four foot range everyday, all along the beaches.
Over three days, 148 heats have been run. That's pretty much one CT event per day! Today the Caparica Primavera Surf Fest continued with QS and Junior surfers to set up for the finals Thursday as conditions look pretty dicey for the end of the week.
In the juniors, the French crew continued to dominate the field and qualified four surfers for the final of the Men's Caparica Junior Pro pres. by Bom Petisco & powered by Caparica Sun Center.
The former runner-up in the European junior title race Thomas Debierre took out the first Semifinal to advance into a Final for the first time since 2016. Hailing from Guadeloupe, he's been battling a back injury and fought through the pain in three heats today.
"I've been suffering from this back injury and it's really hard to surf well," he said. "The pain is getting worse after every heat and my body is super stiff. In Espinho I couldn't get past it, here I managed to surf through it but it's hard. But I'm super happy to make a few heats and I'm going to try to rest a lot before tomorrow."
The second Semifinal saw the shock elimination of the recent winner in Espinho Mathis Crozon. The reigning European Junior champ Kauli Vaast also bowed out early, giving Marco Mignot a chance to strike and potentially take the rankings lead.
In the women's, three of the four semifinalists of Espinho made it back into the final here in Caparica, but the surprise came for 17-year-old Portuguese surfer Camila Costa, who won the second semifinal ahead of Nadia Erostarbe.
"I've competed a fair bit here with the national events and I like it here, the waves have been super fun this week," she said. "I'm super happy to make the final and I'll just try to stay calm and surf my best."
Coming from up the coast near Peniche, Camila has barely surfed any other events before, but today she proved her surfing was right up there with the best in the region. She took on the fun rights of the North podium on her forehand and posted two good scores for her spot in a first-ever Junior QS final.
"I've been more patient here and I found some good waves so that probably explains how I did better than in Espinho for example," she continued. "I'm not really scared of the other girls, I think if I choose the right waves and I surf as best as I can maybe I have my chances."
Melania Diaz continued to surf above the rest of the field and scored in the excellent range to take an easy win into the final. Israel's Anat Lelior took the second qualifying spot and reached the final for the very first time in her young career.
Coming from Israel, she doesn't really have the same background as other surfers, but her tireless work off season has clearly paid off as she started this 2018 season looking very strong, and a potential event winner this week in Caparica.
"It feels amazing to make the final, Portugal's been treating me very well," she said. "I'm having so much fun, surfing almost alone in those great waves. I've worked a lot on mental game, and physical strengths and I have a magic board so everything is going my way. I miss having my sister here with me, but she got injured and couldn't compete this year, I hope she gets better soon and we can travel together again soon."
In the QS category, defending event champion Gony Zubizarreta easily advanced into the semis and will be the overall favorite on finals day tomorrow to keep the men's title for one more year.
The women's field will also feature the defending champion Justine Dupont and runner-up Carol Henrique but there's a strong push from the juniors and they'll need to fight hard the new generation in the finals to keep their rank.
Event officials have convened the longboarders and QS at 7:45 a.m Thursday for their first call and the juniors at 10 a.m for what looks to be finals day for everyone.
Tune in from March 26-31, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!