The second edition of the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche launched today in two-to-three foot surf at the iconic La Torche point. Surfers took on playful conditions on the North side of the point with long lefts on offer to complete twenty-two heats of both the men and women fields.
"It was a good first day to get things underway here in La Torche," Rob Gunning, WSL European tour manager said. "Unfortunately the North wind picked up a fair bit towards the high tide this afternoon and the small swell on offer wasn't really giving many opportunities so we decided to stop for the day. Tomorrow looks a bit tricky but the forecast really improves towards the weekend so we should have some exciting action coming up."
Women Rip in Day's Best Conditions
While the men's opening round took to the lineup first this morning, conditions improved drastically just in time for the women's Round 1 around lunchtime. Scores started to reflect the better waves right away and Rheanna Rosenbaum (main picture up top) in Heat 3 really capitalized on the fun lefts.
The young surfer from Belgium collected two solid scores for her backhand attack of the long waves and advanced in first with 13.50 points and a big smile.
"Waves were actually really fun it was just a matter of waiting for the right ones," she said. "I prefer surfing backside so I was stoked with that left working like that. It's my first time doing the complete season and also my last as a junior so I'm super motivated to do well this year. I live in Belgium so I don't get a lot of training at home and it's mostly on trips, I spend a lot of time in Southwest France and Portugal."
In the following heat, the Canary Islands' Julia Gonzalez attacked the same wave but on her forehand. The light goofy foot laid beautiful turns with great flow and always finished her rides strong, posting an excellent 8.00 point ride and backing it up with a 6.60 for the day's biggest heat total.
"Waves were a bit small but pretty fun," Gonzalez said. "I'm more confortable on my forehand so that was perfect for me. Coming from the Canaries I find conditions a bit cold here but it's ok. I'm going to do all the events this year and I'd love to finish in the Top 10 at the end of the season, my first two results weren't great but I know I can do better, so I'm going to do my best to achieve that."
Anglet local Lilou Maury further upped the ante in the following heat with a massive 9.17 for a combination of backhand vertical turns perfectly linked together. The French surfer couldn't find much of a backup but still advanced in second position into Round 2.
Neil Aboufiras Scores Men's Best Action
16 year-old Casablanca surfer Neil Aboufiras was the highlight of the opening six heats of the men's Round 2 this afternoon. In the wind-affected lineup, the Moroccan navigated his way to two high-6s and took an easy win into Round 3 where he'll meet up with the event's top seeds.
"I managed to get a really good first wave which gave me a lot of confidence," he said. "I couldn't hear anything so I was a bit stressed but I knew I must have had at least one good score so I stayed focused and tried to surf my heat, I didn't pay much attention to the other guys. My goal is to build a ranking for next year so I want to make a few more heats in each event and continue to improve."
Local Crowds Enjoy Fun-Filled Event Site
The organizers of the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche have compiled a list of on-site activations featuring local Surf Life Saving club ASSPB29, a photo exhibition on the beach, concerts and movie screenings from the Brest Surf Film Festival, giving spectators plenty of entertainment aside from the main event.
Event officials will be back at 11 a.m Thursday to re-assess conditions and potentially resume the men's event, while women athletes are expected at the later 1 p.m call.
Tune in from May 1-5, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!