The Pro Anglet woke up to a slightly smaller swell but very clean little waves in the two foot range, and continued today with the opening two rounds of the women's event.
Building momentum works! Turns out, unsurprisingly, the surfers who have two events under the belt coming from Cornwall and Lacanau, have shown better form consistently and performed today in Anglet.
Case and point with today's standouts: Cannelle Bulard runner-up in Lacanau, Yolanda Hopkins runner-up at Boardmasters, Rachel Presti third in England and Karelle Poppke who scored the women's biggest number in Lacanau with a 9.07.
The Tahitian Poppke did it again! In Heat 3 of the second round, while most scores had stayed under 7 points all-day, the powerful goofy found a perfect little left and went top to bottom with a couple of big turns, way more powerful than anything seen until then. Judges gave it an excellent 8.77 and with a 7.17 as a backup there was no denying the Tahitian's supremacy.
"It's only the beginning but it's a great confidence boost to be able to score high in tiny waves like that," she said. "I'm ultra focused because we come from really far and you don't to come all this way and lose early. Most girls surf extremely well in these events and it often comes down to who gets the best wave. I'm happy I was lucky enough to get those today."
Hopkins worked her way up from Round One where she found a very similar left, that she surfed on her backhand. That wave bounced off the break wall and offered a couple of nice sections for the Portuguese surfer to hit for the win. She repeated the feat in Round Two to keep her Anglet run alive. After a runner-up in Cornwall, Hopkins suffered an early exit in Lacanau and is out to rebuild momentum heading into the next couple of events.
"I got my first scores on the rights on the other side," she stated. "But I saw a couple of lefts roll in and tried my luck there just for fun. I've had about 15 surfs already here and I'm loving every bit of it."
Bulard continued to surf brilliantly like she did last week up the coast. Stopped in the finals in Lacanau by an untouchable Zahli Kelly, she had a much better start in Anglet than the Australian and will look to confirm her current form.
"I have to work on being patient, especially in those conditions that's definitely not my strong suit," Bulard reflected. "But I'm getting better and I'm happy about that. Waves were alright though, if you found the good one they were quite fun!"
And then there was Presti. The Floridian came up in the very last heat of the day, when it was clear the scores were stagnating around the 5-6 points mark and nothing major could happen. But Presti had other plans, including riding a long left to perfection, netting an incredible 9.50 to lay Day 2 to bed.
"There wasn't much point in taking the little ones that you're just going to get 3s and 4s on," she explained. "So I waited til I had priority and then waited for a really good one. I wanted to come to Europe to surf against different people and it's really fun traveling around with my family. I'm having a lot of fun competing and making heats feels great, my goal is to get to the Top 30 or so by the end of the year so I'm hoping I can achieve that."
Someone who did not compete in the previous two events but was a great addition to today's action in Anglet was 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich . The iconic Peruvian queen of surfing came out of professional surfing retirement and eyes major competitions in South America and possibly an Olympics qualifying program.
"I've competed here many times and I love France, I love everything here and I'm super happy to be back!" she said. "I've always kept surfing, this is my lifestyle and what I love to do most. I've been surfing a lot more this year, I want to make the Pan-American Games at home in Peru and maybe even the Olympics! The current level of the girls is crazy and the level has progressed so much, it's a great thing to see. I'm a huge surfing fan and I don't miss a single CT event, they're just amazing surfers."
But it's not just about surfing this week in Anglet, as one of the busiest weeks of summer unfolds in the Basque Country, tourists and locals will now enjoy a busy four days of LIVE music, starting tonight with Eddy Capo and a DJ set by Henny de Bassy. The next three nights will be rocked by After Surf DJ sets by notorious local artists Binary Sound Thursday, Standart Friday and WRKS CLUB Saturday, from 6-8 p.m each day.
Surfers will be back at 10 a.m Thursday for the next call, but conditions are expected to drop even further, possibly forcing a lay day in Anglet.
Check out all photos, videos, updates and tune in to the LIVE webcast when the event resumes right here.