The inaugural QS1,500 Senegal Pro wrapped up today in good two-to-three foot surf at the main venue of Surfer Paradise in Dakar, Senegal. Here's a breakdown of the event's finals.
In an all-goofy foot battle, Erostarbe opened fire first with two almost back-to-back rides where she locked excellent backhand turns right in the lip to put a 6 and a 7 on the board and take an early lead.
Nishimoto on her first few attempts failed to really get critical and was attacking the softer sections, as her scores reflected the lesser commitment with only average numbers coming through.
The Basque surfer continued to build momentum and gained confidence, hitting all the right turns in the right sections and posted a 7.50 to nail her first-ever win on the Qualifying Series. Hailing from Zarautz, Erostarbe has been a consistent threat on the European Junior Qualifying Series, claiming the prestigious regional title in her final season in 2018.
She graduated to full-time Qualifying Series grinder this year and already locked two solid results in Avoca beach and Tenerife last month before claiming the victory today in Senegal.
"I can't believe it, I'm just in a dream right now," she stated. "The waves and weather was awesome today so I had a lot of fun. There's a really good righthand point break close to home so I've been working on my backhand and I'm glad it works out. I still need to work a lot but it's great to win and feel like it's worth the work."
This result will boost the young surfer's confidence level and prepare her for her next event right at home in Zarautz early in May. A steady rise on the QS these past couple of years, Erostarbe will now look to post similar results on the bigger stage to rival with the best in the next few seasons.
Nishimoto reached her first-ever final on the QS and showed great potential this week, with excellent backhand surfing on both N'Gor and Surfer Paradise rights to claim the runner-up spot.
"I'm super happy on just making the Final," she said. "I'm trying to get into the big events so this will really help me a lot and I'm excited to compete in a lot more events. This was like a perfect right so it was super fun."
The men's Final was another right-foot-forward matchup and it started right away with a flurry of waves in the opening few minutes of the heat. Both surfers had a similar couple of rides and the battle was tight from the get-go. Mid-way through the heat, both surfers were standing on a 13+ heat total and multiplying efforts to try and improve their best scoring waves.
Bisso re-gained the lead on the ten-minute mark with a beautiful combination of two turns for a 7.50. Fired up, the Guadeloupe surfer continued and surfed a similar wave but managed to fit in three maneuvers of the same caliber this time for an 8.25 to burry his opponent's chances of a comeback.
Pressed by time and probably feeling the tension of the situation, Bouaouda unfortunately made a few mistakes on his remaining attempts and eventually Bisso claimed his second win just a few weeks after claiming his first title in Tenerife.
"I can't believe I've just won another one!" he said. "I didn't expect to have such a great time this week but hats off to Oumar the organizer, he put on an incredible event and I think everyone had just the best time. It feels like I really shared this win with everyone here today."
A former runner-up at the World Junior Championship, Bisso had a tough year in 2018 following the loss of his main sponsor but is looking in fantastic form in this beginning of 2019. The talented goofy foot proved with the back-to-back wins that he's capable of winning on perfect left or right reef breaks and will carry huge confidence into the upcoming two QS3,000 in Portugal where he now resides.
"I spent a lot of time training with Ze my new coach in Portugal," he continued. "I feel like it's just all that work paying off now and it's awesome. My goal is to make the cut and enter the QS10,000 so I'm already halfway there and I'm stoked. My surfing feels good on both rights and lefts, I think I need to work on the bigger surf but I'm getting there as a quite complete surfer I think."
Morocco's Bouaouda claimed his own best-ever result with the runner-up in Senegal and gave 100% all the way into the final buzzer to try and overtake Bisso. This new found form will serve him well as he prepares to surf more QS events this upcoming season.
"I'm extremely happy with my result here today," he said. "I didn't compete much last year but spent a lot of time working hard on my surfing so I'm glad it's paying off. Making the Quarters was my goal so from then on it was just bonus and I really surfed pressure-free and enjoyed every minute of it! I've competed here before in the Africa tour and I love coming to Senegal, it feels a lot like home and I'll definitely be back."
Surfers from Europe will now focus on the men's QS3,000 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House from April 8-13, while the next African event will be QS1,000 Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro from April 18-20, 2019.
The Senegal Pro unfolded from March 27-31, check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and full results right here.