The Caparica Primavera Surf Fest came to a close today, crowning six champions in windy three-to-five foot surf at Praia do Paraiso. Here's a breakdown of each final.
It came down to the wire in this one, we actually waited a few minutes after the horn sounded at the end of the heat to get all the missing scores. Honolua Blomfield was in the lead the whole time, but Justine Dupont didn't need much to overtake the Hawaiian and take the win.
Dupont got a last wave, a good left into the channel near the North breakwall, and cruised through a couple of noseride sections. She needed something a little over a 4 and got it, but in the meantime Honolua posted a higher back-up score and walked away with the win.
"In these events you go against the girls that are on the world tour so it's really good practice," she said. "I came to England with my boyfriend, who's from there, and realized there was a contest on. Ben Skinner gave me a board to use while I was in England and I just decided to come here last minute. My first heat was my first surf here and I'm glad it all worked out."
A completely different scenario unfolded for the men. Antoine Delpero posted a near-perfect 9.87 in the opening minutes and dominated all through the Final. England's Ben Skinner did everything he could to try to upset the hierarchy, but Delpero -- the reigning European Champion -- was untouchable today. He bounced back after an uncharacteristic early exit in Espinho last week, defeated by, wait for it... Skinner!
"Espinho was a bit of a shock for me so I'm stoked to get back on the horse and win an event again," he said. "It was a tough long day with only four-man heats so it wasn't an easy one. I'm happy Edouard and I have a win each and I look forward to the next ones."
With the growing swell and strong onshores, all four surfers struggled to find the right spot to sit in the lineup. Anat Lelior found the first decent score and took the lead. Melania Diaz came back strong with a single turn for an average number but got stuck paddling back out for a bit and could never chase the required back up. The Israeli surfer won her first-ever Junior Final.
"This win is for my sister, I'm super happy to win this with my amazing friends and super coach around," she said. "I couldn't believe I won the Juniors and I already had to paddle back out for the QS Final, so I tried to settle down and got back into it. A second place in the QS is amazing too."
Because yes, half an hour later she was in the water again, and took a close runner-up spot in the QS women's Final. The Canary Island native placed second of the Junior Final, Nadia Erostarbe third and Portugal's Camila Costa fourth.
Marco Mignot took his time to get in a rhythm but went all-out with a forehand rotation in the blown-out conditions and landed it perfectly for an 8.17 and a strong hold on the Final. Tiago Carrique and Thomas Debierre both had a 7+ wave but couldn't find a second good score and Marco won his third Junior event.
"I really needed that win to get in a better mental place for this season," he said. "When I saw Kauli (Vaast) and Mathis (Crozon) lose I had a little smile and I knew it was my time. I'm stoked to get the win and I hope I can win one or more again this season to get the title."
Tiago Carrique came in second, Thomas Debierre third and Erwan Blouin fourth.
The Final featured three Junior surfers, including two that also made the Junior Final, and the defending event champion Justine Dupont, who also made the longboard Final. Dupont let her power do the talking in the meaty sections and posted two good scores for her forehand attack and lead the heat all the way into victory.
"I'm stoked to win again here in Caparica, I was a little disappointed about the longboard final but the other girls are some of the best in the world so I can't be too sad to place second," she said. "It's been a long day, I surfed five heats and was starting to feel the burn by the end there. This was a nice break and I'm off to chase big waves again as we have a swell for Nazaré in just two days."
Anat Lelior, the junior winner took the runner-up spot, Nadia Erostarbe third and England's Ellie Turner fourth.
The men's Qualifying Series Final was the 174th heat surfed at Caparica this week, plus there were actually two re-surfs, so technically the 176th. Not bad for four days of competition.
It lasted 25 minutes and in the end, Basque Country's Imanol Yeregi emerged victorious from a battle with last year's winner Gony Zubizarreta. Yeregi will carry momentum and confidence into next week's Pro Zarautz pres. by Oakley on his home turf and hopes to represent the local colors all the way again.
"I'm super happy to win my first QS event ever, especially against Gony who was surfing so good during the whole contest," he said. "I couldn't hear anything out there and I only realized I had won when I came in and Hodei (Collazo) was standing there congratulating me. Ruben (Vitoria) and I train together all the time and we hope to make a big effort in Zarautz next week."
With the completion of the Caparica Primavera Surf Fest, the European rankings have been shaken up quite a bit, here's the new current Top 5: