Not many places in the world can boast about their rapidly-changing weather as Cornwall can. Locals have made the common saying ‘If you don't like the weather, come back in an hour!' theirs, showing just how radically it can all change from a minute to the next.
Traveling surfers got the full experience today at Fistral, waking up to a beautiful day with absolutely zero surf, relatively mild cross-offshore winds and sunshine. As they watched the swell fill in throughout the day, the weather went through many phases of torrential downpour and beautiful sunshine and the wind started to blow harder and harder turning slightly more Southwest.
Conditions did improve surfing-wise and all competitors were sent out, starting with the last Quarter of the women's Boardmasters Longboard Pro won by Francesca Rubegni followed by the Roxy Open's Round 3.
It was a mixed bag of results for previous winners at Fistral. While Ella Williams continued to dominate with a 14.00 heat total for her spot in the Quarters, the defending title holder Juliette Lacome couldn't find the waves she was looking for and was eliminated in Round 3.
Yolanda Hopkins won that heat and was partly responsible for the upset. The Portuguese surfer who posted an excellent 8.17 yesterday continued to show great form and good decision making as she navigated the building swell nicely to find herself on the right waves.
"The rights open up really good but making maneuvers with that wind is really tough," she said. "I was lucky I managed to catch a left and got my best score on it, which was enough to pass in first."
Of course it's not the first time the two surfers face off, in fact the battle Hopkins vs. Lacome was the Final of last year's Roxy Open at Fistral and this time it was the French who came out on top.
"I'm ready for the win this year," she added. "I really liked making the Final last year but it was frustrating not to take it out. I've never won an event yet so I'd love to be able to do it here for the first time. I've trained really hard last winter with my amazing coach and I feel like it's starting to pay off."
Benoit Carpentier also claimed his ticket for the Semis for the second time this season and will face compatriot Delpero when the event resumes. For Carpentier the challenge seems extreme but the reward could be a first-ever Final if he can advance past one of the best longboarders on the planet.
"I really like surfing a bit of size so those conditions suited me well and I'm happy to move into the Semis," he said. "Edouard is clearly one of if not the best surfer in the world at the moment so it's definitely the toughest draw but I'm always keen to try to push myself and hopefully I won't make any mistakes and have a shot."
The final Quarter brought plenty of drama as local favorite Ben Skinner started well with a 7 point ride but was caught inside by a massive set as he drifted dangerously towards the rocks at little Fistral. The RNLI jetski went to pick him up in a precarious situation and brought him back to the beach but the time lost in the process and a hefty paddle back out meant the Newquay local was never able to find a good enough back-up score and was eliminated by Federico Nesti.
Round 4 of the Quiksilver Open wrapped things up for Day 3 with 8 heats disputed in solid six foot plus surf and howling side shore winds, with waves breaking far off the beach as the tide bottomed out.
Current World No. 57 on the Qualifying Series Tristan Guilbaud, the highest seeded surfer in this event, had a pretty slow start with a couple of low scores. Sitting in last as the clock neared the final five minutes, the Frenchman started on a big left and absolutely annihilated the poor wave, with a combination of massive turns in the first big sections and more on the inside to post a near-perfect 9.83 and jump straight into first place.
"I didn't know what score I got but I knew I needed something big as my other waves weren't great and this one did feel very good," he said. "I think that's my best score ever on the QS so I'm stoked. The rights were really tough so I tried to look for lefts but there weren't many out there. I don't really have any pressure at the moment, I've already reached my goal of making the QS10,000s and I'll take these next few events as a good preparation for the big ones of the end of the season."
The Frenchman showed the way for the seven following heats but no one really came near his level of performance on that single highest wave of the event. Only a local could have possibly tamed the testing conditions and that is exactly what Fistral's Luke Dillon did in Heat 6 where he posted two excellent scores of 8.00 and 8.57 for the highest combined heat total of the entire event so far.
Surfers in the Quiksilver and Roxy Open will be back on call tomorrow Saturday at 12 p.m for a potential continuation of their respective events. Longboarders will wait until Sunday for the Finals.
Tune in from August 7-11, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here!