The Longboard Pro Espinho launched this morning in testing three-to-five foot surf and relatively mild winds to complete eight heats before wild weather rendered conditions incontestable for the rest of the day.
"We knew this was coming so it's not a surprise and we were quite lucky to complete as much as we did before it turned bad," Rob Gunning, European Tour Manager stated. "Conditions just became too unruly all of a sudden and we had to call off the men's opening round in Heat 6. The forecast looks very difficult tomorrow again but improves on Sunday from what we can see now."
The Longboard Pro Espinho is the first regional event for European longboarders and one of three stops which will count to determine the European title this season.
Alice Lemoigne Carries Australian Momentum into Espinho
Competition started with the women's opening round first in the water this morning. While most surfers sought shelter from the massive break wall and rode little waves on the inside, Alice Lemoigne paddled straight out through the sets and started surfing much larger waves. The Reunion Island surfer was instantly rewarded for her gutsy approach and posted the day's biggest scores to advance into the Quarters.
"It was a bit tricky to get through but with the right timing and a big paddle in between sets it was possible," Lemoigne explained. "It makes a big difference to be surfing out the back, you have to choose your waves carefully and sometimes will have to make the run around to paddle back out next to the pier but I think it's definitely worth it. Once you get a wave it's actually pretty enjoyable and there's a lot of room for maneuvers."
Lemoigne spent her winter in Reunion Island to prepare for the new year ahead and spent precious time both relaxing and training hard in idyllic conditions. She looked re-energized in Espinho and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future events.
"I spent two and a half months at home and it was amazing," she added. "It felt so good to be home with my family and friends, and I surfed a lot too. I use a shark shield and there are also usually people patrolling the lineup to make it safer. Surfing's picked up again and there are a lot more people in the water now which is great. I also managed to surf and train with Johanne Defay and her boyfriend Simon which was awesome."
Before coming to Espinho for the first time this week, the talented regular foot competed in the opening event of the year, the Noosa Longboard Open where she reached the Quarterfinals before losing to eventual runner-up and former World Longboard Champion Honolua Blomfield.
"It was great to be there but unfortunately we were quite unlucky with the conditions and we ended up surfing the beach break and not the famed point breaks of Noosa," she continued. "I trained a lot for those specific rights so I was disappointed but in the end conditions were a bit similar to French summer beach breaks so I'm happy with a 5th place to start the year off well. The next event is in Europe so I hope I can do well there and I want to win another European title!"
French Rookie Takes Men's Field Top Scores
When the men's field got a hold of the lineup conditions had already begun to degrade with more swell pushing in and the wind getting stronger every minute. Clement Roseyro surfed in the opening heat and managed to take advantage of the conditions on hand to take a first win into the Quarters.
"That wave is awesome, be it for shortboarding or longboarding," Roseyro said. "Here's definitely a place I'd come on holidays to surf, we trained yesterday morning with nobody out and the waves were super fun. I managed to find a couple decent waves in the lineup so it was a good heat. The wave is bit bumpy at first cause you start way out, behind the pier but it sort of cleans up as you go and it's still fun even in these conditions."
After a first taste of competition on home turf last year at the Longboard Pro Biarritz, Roseyro decided to give the European tour a go and made his way to Espinho for the first event of the season.
"I did that event last year at home cause I kind of had to it was right there," he continued. "I made one round and I was super stoked, then at the national championship I had a good result so I decided to try my luck at all the WSL European events this year, it should be fun!"
Event officials have decided to call competition Off for the day around lunchtime as conditions continued to degrade and have already called Saturday Off for the day. The next call will be held on Sunday at 7:30 a.m for the event's finals.
Tune in from April 5-14, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!