Finally waves played nice at the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche as the third day of competition launched with lighter winds and clean peaks. Conditions remained small but the light-footed under-18 surfers couldn't care less as they went on to rip apart the little running lefts of the main peak in La Torche.
Top Seeds Mostly Advance with Convincing Efforts
Last year's runner-up in Lenni Jensen had the difficult task to perform in the very first heat of the morning, helping set up the judges' scale for the rest of the day. The German surfer had a scare as he trailed for most of the heat, but finally managed to find a good score and made his way out in first.
"I had a good little wave just before the heat started and unfortunately I arrived late and missed the first set," he said. "I really want to go for the win this time. I hope the waves increase in size a bit, it's really different from last year."
The winner of the 2018 edition Justin Becret and Tahitian powerhouse Kauli Vaast, both currently tied in the lead on the European Junior rankings, also won their respective first heats in this event. Both surfers thrusted the first place with solid scores on the board and looked determined to keep their excellent 2019 campaign going in Brittany.
Portelli Claims Day's Best Performance
Swedish surfer now residing in the Canary Islands Christian Portelli (SWE) was the surprise standout in the top seeded men's Round 3 as he built a healthy scoreline of 14.34, courtesy of his backhand attack on the lefts. The regular foot first appeared in a junior event back in 2013 but only really committed to the full tour last year, claiming a career-best equal 5th place in Caparica. He will now chase his best-ever finish on the regional rankings in his final season in the under-18 category.
"It was a fun heat and good to get that first score quickly to shake the nerves," he said. "I really don't recognize this spot from last year but it's also pretty fun when small and clean like this. I'd love to make the Top 5 this year but mostly I'm looking to be comfortable with my surfing and make good heats."
Alys Barton Claims First-Ever WSL Heat Wins
15 year-old Welsh surfer Alys Barton took her very first and second heat wins at a professional junior event this week, advancing in first ahead of fellow Brit Ellie Turner in Round 2 this afternoon. The regular foot from Llangennith found similarities with her local spot and felt right at home in the small but punchy little lefts of La Torche.
Only three years into surfing, Barton showed great potential and will be someone to keep an eye on in the next few events and seasons.
"At the moment I've managed to make a couple of heats and get some wins so it's been really good," she said. "Ellie's a good friend of mine and such a good surfer, I really look up to her. It was really tough conditions but I did manage to win that one over her so I was quite pleased. I managed to pick off like two lefts and get a couple of 5s so it was alright, I quite like to surf on my backhand so that was nice."
Entertainment Continues with On-Site Activations
Local Surf Life Saving club ASSPB29 continued to give demonstrations on the beach, a photography workshop invited local beach-goers to get into the art with practical lessons, and a beach-cleaning was organized around lunchtime before everyone meets for a roundtable about the environment tonight. A punk-rock live gig will close the night at local surf school Rise Up.
Surfers and event officials will be back at 8 a.m Saturday to potentially resume the event early on the outgoing tide.
Tune in from May 1-5, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!