The E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche wrapped up today in wind-affected four-to-six foot surf at the iconic La Torche point in Brittany. Here's a breakdown of the event's finals.
One of the standout surfers all-week, Justin Becret took on Lenni Jensen in an exciting final where both surfers exchanged scores up until the very last minute of the heat. Eventually it was the Frenchman's very last wave that offered him a first-ever Junior QS title in Brittany.
"This has been a long time coming so I'm extremely happy to reach the final and take the win today," Becret said. "I've had really close calls today but it all worked out in the end. I'm very lucky to have the support of Ian Fontaine who knows the spot better than anyone here and it helped a lot."
With two 9+ rides yesterday in the earlier rounds, Becret's surfing at La Torche was some of the most impressive and despite a trickier run on finals day, the surfer from Southwest France managed to scrap away wins all the way into the Final. With the 1,000 ranking points earned today, Becret climbed up to No. 3 on the regional stands and will be a threat for the overall title in the final events of the 2018 season.
"This hasn't been on my mind at all up until now and if I'm in the running that's great," he added. "But my main goal is to make the world final this year so I'll stay focused on that goal mostly. I've had an incredible time here this week and I'll be stoked to come back next year to defend my title."
Jensen has been making a very impressive push this season, starting with an equal third in Espinho earlier this year. The German surfer now residing in the Canary Islands reveled in the big surf and came extremely close to winning his first event as well. He'll stand in No. 4 on the European junior rankings heading into the next stop in Biscarrosse next week.
"I fell on the second turn of my first wave so I made a big mistake and ended up paying for it in the end," he said. "I'm extremely disappointed cause I couldn't find a good enough backup to take the win, but I'll keep trying harder next time in Biscarrosse."
An unforeseeable Final unfolded between Bahia Frediani and Eveline Hooft. Both surfers struggled to find the right waves in the building swell at La Torche and the final result came down to a battle for the back-up scores as they only had one decent wave each on the scoreboard. Hooft never stopped fighting and eventually took the win, the first of her young career.
"It feels incredible to win today, I can't even describe what I'm feeling, I'm just super happy," she said. "I'm really grateful to have my family here and all the support from back home and my sponsors, especially Ruud Van Nistelrooy and his foundation who make it possible for me to train outside of Holland and compete worldwide."
Nowhere near the top spots before her incredible performance in Brittany, the Dutch surfer will rocket up to fourth on the European rankings and eye a potential qualification for the World Junior Championships with another big result in the remaining events of this season.
"I felt a little nervous but I think mostly healthy nerves as I was excited to surf more heats and try to show what I can do," she continued. "I finished my studies last year and want to focus on surfing right now, to try and see how far I can go. I've always done a lot of sports but I've put them all on hold for now and will focus on training for surfing."
Hailing from Guadeloupe, Frediani has only just started her career on the Junior Qualifying Series and is already showing great signs of a brilliant future competitively. The 15-year-old opened her Final with a good wave but with big sets closing out, she struggled to find her position in the lineup again in time to pick a second good wave and eventually placed runner-up.
"The final was really complicated, waves changed and got much bigger in the final, there was a lot of paddling involved," Frediani said. "I'm really happy to have made it this far in the event and I hope I can do well again in Bisca next week."
With the completion of the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche, the European rankings have been reset, here's the new current Top 5:
Surfers will now have a couple of days to rest before the next event, the Junior Pro Biscarrosse starting next Wednesday.
Tune in from May 9-13, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!