The E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche continued today in wind-affected two foot surf and completed the remaining ten heats of the men's Round 2.
Surfers took on a complicated lineup and negotiated the tricky peaks the best they could to fight for their spot in the top seeded Round 3 when the event resumes.
British surfer Willoughby Masterman from the neighbor island of Jersey was the first to step things up as he bashed a fun little left a handful of times on his backhand to post a 6.83 and take the win. A familiar face on the European junior tour for a few years now, Masterman is yet to crack the latter rounds and perhaps this event on familiar territory could be the breakthrough result the powerful regular foot is chasing.
"At the beginning it was kind of slow and I kept slipping off my board but finally I found that gem," he said. "I kind of played it safe and tagged it all the way in and the judges liked it so I was happy. I'm very used to the cold and small, windy waves in Jersey so it feels a lot and looks like home too, I like it."
A good Basque battle unfolded later in the round with supergrom Adur Amatriain and Bitor Garitaonandia (pictured up top) fighting for the lead. The two surfers showed different styles in the goofy vs. regular foot battle but eventually Garitaonandia took one over the younger Amatriain who placed second.
"I'm really satisfied to take this one out," Garitaonandia said. "It helps building confidence for the next round and it feels like a job well done. Conditions were super hard but we train a lot in these kind of conditions to be prepared so I felt alright in the heat. Adur and I sometimes train together, he's from Zarautz and I'm from Deba so pretty close and we've surfed a lot together and against each other. I think he's definitely won more than me so I'm stoked to get him today."
15 year-old Amatriain did however score the heat and day's best single score of 7.00 points on a single maneuver and was left chasing a mid 6 to turn the situation once again.
"I got that wave at the beginning of the heat," he explained. "It looked like it had potential and I just went for a big turn. It was tricky to find anything else and I managed to score a 5 something and thankfully that was enough to advance."
Matteo Calatri and Noah Capps were two other standouts in today's conditions as they managed to find scores in the good range (above 6 points). A few upsets were also witnessed as surfers from Brittany failed to capitalize on home court advantage and were sent home in Round 2. Four surfers from the region, Axel Droual, Tom Esteva, Aurélien Buffet and Thomas Grisoni are still in contention.
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.
Competitors will be back at 8 a.m Friday to re-assess conditions and decide of the day's schedule.
Tune in from May 1-5, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!