The Quiksilver and Roxy Junior Pro 40 witnessed interesting scenarios on the fourth day of competition. The event resumed in good conditions once again and while most people (yours truly included) were starting to compile European junior title race scenarios, the day unveiled a completely different story.
In the women's event, the No. 1 and 2 surfers on the rankings, Mafalda Lopes and Ellie Turner were both in the Quarters, on opposite sides of the draw and looking poised to make it all the way for a dramatic showdown and a potential title up-for-grabs.
Instead, both their bid went awry. Lopes found a massive hurdle on her way with the comeback to form of Juliette Lacome in the opening heat. The French surfer who stood out the previous event in Brittany, could potentially still be in reach of the European title with two massive results in the remaining events.
"Surfing against Mafalda I knew all the implications of that result," she said. "If she beat me I was definitely out of the race, if I beat her I still had an outside chance. The heat was pretty slow but I tried to stay focused and keep all of that out of my mind. Now I'm super happy to take that one and I really hope I can win that event at home with all our friends around."
There's no doubt everybody in Turner's camp saw Lopes' early exit as an opportunity to strike and close the gap, but once again it all went out the window pretty quickly. Canarian Melania Suarez Diaz had something different in mind, she went and attacked the rights off the pier with great flow and perfect timing, scoring a 6.00 on her opening ride before finding near-perfection with a 9.33 on her second attempt. The British surfer seemed completely out of rhythm in that heat and never found anything decent to showcase her surfing.
And just like that, No. 1 and 2 are out of the event, and now anything can happen. Let's see what Sunday's finals bring!
On the men's side of the draw, it wasn't quite as dramatic as most form surfers made it through to the Quarters, with a possibility for rankings leader Kauli Vaast to claim the regional title one event shy of the season's end.
Surfers will be back at 8:30 a.m Sunday for a final call in expected improved conditions.
Tune in from July 17-21, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here on worldsurfleague.com!