A couple of lay days got everyone on their toes in the French Basque country but finally the swell showed up today and surfers went back to work at the Pro Anglet pres. by Oakley. Waves in the three foot range at first light, built all day into four-to-five foot sets by late afternoon with just enough onshore wind to encourage aerial maneuvers.
In the women's event, Anglet's very own Pauline Ado turned heads in Round Four with the perfect wave selection and a good display of backhand surfing on a long left. Patient enough to let the first two waves of the set go, Ado was in the perfect spot to paddle for the third, a cleaner wall that grew as the wave hit the high tide bank. She locked in three turns for an excellent 8.50 and her spot in the quarters.
"It's good to get a little rhythm going cause I've been a little disappointed by my performance in Lacanau and other previous events," she stated. "We've been waiting for a long time but it was the correct decision as we had great waves today. It was a bit risky to go surf that north peak, it's always 50/50, but it turned out alright cause Cannelle (Bulard) and I found a couple of really fun ones."
Talking about rhythm, Dominic Barona certainly has something going for her this season. She's already captured three event wins in Argentina, Peru and Brazil, and seeing her form in Anglet she could definitely go for a fourth. Her infectious smile and positivity has already won over the Basque crowds but she'll have a big hurdle on her way with current World No. 17 Paige Hareb in the Quarters tomorrow.
"I love coming here to compete and waves were amazing today," she said. "I'm really just trying to have fun cause I know that's when I surf the best and it's been working this year for me. This is the best job in the world and I'm just trying to remember this always and make the best of every heat I surf."
The men's Round Six later today was where the vibe got tense all of a sudden. The last four-man heats are usually a make-or-break scenario and with already two Rounds disputed earlier, fatigue also played a role in today's results.
Gatien Delahaye dominated Heat 1 and advanced into the man-on-man quarters for the first time this season. The talented regular foot destroyed a good left with a good snap and a fins-free reverse for an 8.67 and the win. Eventually Quivront took the second qualifying spot and the defending champion Boukhiam was eliminated.
"It was an awesome heat with Charly (Quivront) and Ramzi (Boukhiam) ," Delahaye stated. "For me that was like a Final and I just went out there wanting to do well. I let lose a little bit on my first wave, a perfect little left, and it really helped me set up that heat. I'm way more relaxed this year and focused on doing my thing instead of looking at others."
Vicente Romero has been a discrete surfer in this event so far, but he peaked at the right time and took out the second heat to move into the Quarters alongside World No. 34 Joan Duru. The Spaniard gave it everything he got and even flirted with the rocks at high tide in an effort to finish all his waves properly. If his board makes it to finals day, he'll be a dark horse with a decent shot in Anglet.
"I'm super happy to finally be able to show what I can do," he stated. "Joan (Duru) is one of my favorite surfers and to be able to surf with him was great. I didn't make the cut for the QS10,000 in Ericeira because of my result in Lacanau and that really fired me up for this week."
The last heat of the day was a proper roller-coaster for everyone involved with the lead being passed on for a bit until Morgan Cibilic nailed the heat's best score of 8.03 for a couple of big backhand turns. The whole Aussie crew lit up right away on the VIP deck of the event and carried their surfer to victory with loud whistles that were probably heard miles away.
"I knew the waves were going to be pumping at high tide and I couldn't be happier with the win," he said. "I waited with priority for ages and got a really average one so I when I got the priority back and that little gem came through I was frothing! I was studying until last year so I'm only really starting on the QS and I'm excited to get a good result here. My goal is to make the bigger events next year so hopefully with this result I'm well on my way."
Other highlights today included a 9+ point barrel by Duru, and a massive air from Mignot for his own 9+ score.
Surfers will be back at 8:45 a.m tomorrow for the final call of the Pro Anglet pres. by Oakley.
Check out all photos, videos, updates and tune in to the LIVE webcast when the event resumes right here.