The Caraïbos Lacanau Pro continued in a decreasing swell, with glassy surf in the two-to-three foot range this morning. The day started with the remaining eight heats of the men's Round 3.
Luke Hynd is a familiar face on the Qualifying Series, including some of the European events. Somehow though, the 22 year-old Australian has never made his way to France before! Now that's done, and he couldn't have thought of a better start. In the last heat of the day, the goofy foot found a little left to work with and threw a good forehand rotation for a 7.67, the highest single number of the men's heats.
"I wanted to start the heat early because it's pretty slow out there," he explained. "So I tried to get a few rights and got an average number, then this random nugget left came through and I thought I'd just go. It ended up having one big section and I went for it and stomped a pretty sick punt so I was happy with that! It changes every 10 minutes out there, but it was mostly weak rights and like a dumpy left and it was pretty fun."
When Heat 8 of the men's Round 3 wrapped up, it was announced the rest of the day would be all-women, with three rounds on the cards. Round One was relatively uneventful, but things started to look up when Round 2 surfers paddled out.
And it was an all-Tahitian affair (almost!). Granted Rachel Presti and Zahli Kelly posted two good heats for the U.S and Australia respectively, but the real highlight came with Heat 4 and Karelle Poppke's backhand attack.
The powerful goofyfoot has been shy on competing this year, but her only two results are a third and a runner-up. Needless to say when she enters an event, she's there to go all the way!
She found a good right that opened for her and put together a combination of radical backhand gauges for the highest score of the entire event so far, an incredible 9.07. She backed it up with a decent score and made her way to Round Three, advancing alongside Marion Philippe from guess where? Tahiti.
"I was quite stressed out there," she said. "The waves decreased a lot and with the tide change it became complicated. I tried to stay positive and I managed my heat, I was helped by my Tahitian friends here in Lacanau. That wave came out of nowhere and it was absolutely perfect, I'm happy I got a big score for it."
A third Tahitian took out the final heat of the round, the reigning World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro. She's only been surfing on the QS since last year, but already has a win under her belt, and in Hawaii nonetheless. The start of her 2018 season could have been stronger, but she's coming fresh off a good quarterfinal finish at Boardmasters and could turn her year around with a strong leg in Europe. That is if logistics let her focus a little bit more on surfing.
"I missed one of my flights coming here and my boards didn't arrive until this morning," she said. "I had to go pick them up and barely arrived here in time for my heat. So that wasn't ideal, but all considering, it went quite well. The waves moved to that lefthand bank just before my heat so I was really happy and I managed to find a couple of fun ones there. It was a great day for us Tahitians and I hope we'll go far in this event."
Placing second in that heat was the current European junior rankings leader Nadia Erostarbe. With a strap on her left knee and a slight limp coming out of the water, you could tell she wasn't 100%, but the Basque surfer who is dominating the season's Under-18 events, did the job and will try to build momentum into Round Three.
"I'm happy with the result cause it wasn't easy out there," she stated. "I got a really good wave yesterday on that bank so I'm happy it turned on for our heat. The level on the QS is definitely higher but I look forward to transitioning full time and I'll do my best to adapt and surf well. I got a third in Caparica earlier this year, so my goal is to beat that result in the small QS events now."
Conditions deteriorated further in the afternoon and officials decided to halt the competition before the top seeded Round Three. With a poor forecast for the next 24 hours, Thursday will be a day OFF in Lacanau and surfers will come back at 7:45 a.m for the men's event call, and 12 p.m for the women.
Tune in from August 14-19, 2018 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!