The women's QS 6,000 Pull&Bear Pantin Classic Galicia Pro launched today and ran through the opening three rounds. Waves were average at best for most of the morning, but when the tide filled in, the far right corner of the beach started pulsing reef-like perfect rights. Surfers changed up their strategies and started dropping big numbers.
The peak was absolutely perfect for goofyfooters and they thrusted the top spots of pretty much all the heats this afternoon. The event's top seeds will enter in the next round, but here are a few standouts from this opening day that could potentially rival the top girls when competition resumes.
Hands down the best surfer of the day in Pantin, Blanco annihilated the rights on her backhand and claimed the best two heat totals of the event with a 14.66 and an impressive 16.00.
"I've never seen Pantin this glassy with super fun waves so that was great," she commented. "I'm here with Brianna (Cope) and we were looking at the other peak but just before her heat it switched to this one so we were really happy. I was comfortable on my backhand and I feel like it allowed me to go more vertical."
The reigning World Junior Champ is having a tough second year on tour with only a couple of equal 5th to show for, in Ballito and Newquay earlier this summer. But when she finds the right waves, the goofyfooter impresses with her backhand attack and this afternoon she dismantled a right for an excellent 8 point ride, one of the highest single numbers of the day.u
"My first heat was really tough so I was relieved to get a good one this afternoon on that peak," she said. "The only problem was the seaweed. It was super tough to get through it and I even had to pull my leash on that good wave to be able to surf it properly. I'm already further into the event than I reached last year so every heat now is a bonus."
A 2014 World Junior Champ, the Japanese surfer took a similar backhand approach and posted a few good scores to make her way into Round 4. She spent the whole summer in Europe and clearly got used to the shifting beachbreak the region is known for. Her best result in Pantin is a 9th but the work she's put in this summer could change that.
"I love spending time here in Europe," she stated. "That whole leg offers a huge amount of opportunities to practice and get a rhythm. The only difference here was wearing a full suit, the morning heat was a bit cold but it got better this afternoon and I'm fine now. I chose to surf without a leash because of the seaweed and I had to stick all my turns! It's a bit of a gamble but worth it in the end because you're not dragging everything behind your board."
Bulard only recently decided to give competitive surfing another crack and she is starting to find her past form. She's been extremely consistent in her last five events, and this week will mark her first big test against some of the world's best surfers. If she can keep up her opening day rhythm and her heats continue to unfold when the high tide super bank is on, she could upset a few top seeds in Pantin.
"It's really my first major event being back so I'll take it as it comes," she said. "If I continue to get fun little rights like that I may have my chances. That right was a blessing for us goofyfooters. Conditions look like they're going to improve so I really wanted to just stay in the event through today."
We thought we'd introduce at least one naturalfooter in today's list of highlights. Lacome had a three-day training camp of sort in Galicia as she was surfing in the last European Pro Junior event of the season at the same spot. She reached the Final and placed runner-up yesterday, then advanced through her first three heats today. In Round 4 she'll face World No. 13 Keely Andrew and will have to prove herself yet again in the Pantin surf.
"Three heats in a day is a lot, especially in tough waves so I'm really happy I made it through," she reflected. "The wave is similar to what we've been surfing for the Juniors so I'm getting used to it even if it's a bit tricky. It's a beautiful spot, I'm loving my first time here."
All the surfers mentioned the seaweed hazard in their post-heat interviews. The issue was causing many to change up their strategies to avoid getting hung up.
Event officials have set the men's call at 9 a.m Tuesday while the women will come in at 11 a.m.
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