The QS1,500 Deeply Pro Anglet wrapped up today in clean two-to-three foot surf at Chambre d'Amour. Here's a breakdown of the event's finals.
After a rather slow start to the final with both surfers posting under-average scores, Lelior started building momentum midway through the heat. The Israeli surfer started on a left and put together a nice two-turn combo on her forehand to post a 5.73 and quickly escalated on her backhand this time with a similar combination and more vertical turns for a 6.77.
Lelior built a healthy lead as the current No. 1 on the Qualifying Series Nichols was struggling to find waves with good scoring potential. She eventually did on a clean little right with a 6.50 but with only a minute left in the heat, the Australian was unable to find a second good score to overtake Lelior and the Israeli walked away with her first QS win ever.
"This is the first of many hopefully, go big or go home!" she said. "I'm super happy with the way I surfed this week, trusted my surfing and had fun doing it. It was great to share the Final with Isabella, she's such a good surfer. I really look up to her and I want to be in her shoes on that number one spot someday. I'm excited to head to Galicia, stoked I could qualify to get in and hopefully I have a good time there too."
A winner on the Junior tour before, Lelior continues to impress as her road to victory included some of the biggest scores of the entire event, most notably 9+ point rides in Rounds 1 and 2. She also overcame strong competition on finals day as she previously eliminated the defending winner in Anglet Zahli Kelly. Today's victory propelled her up to third on the European rankings.
Nichols has had a fantastic start to her 2019 qualifying campaign with big results in Australia as well as the US Open more recently. Though her result today will not count in her season tally, Nichols kept her momentum flowing in Europe and will head to Galicia with valuable jersey time in the water.
"That was a lot of heats in a very short amount of days and definitely a first for me," she reflected. "Waves were pumping and I really had a lot of fun surfing here this week. Everything has just kind of fallen into place this year for me and I'm just having fun going with all the motions. I love coming to Europe and that's why I came here basically, it's great to have such a fun event to build a good base heading to Galicia."
She had previously dispatched the last remaining French surfer in the women's event, Tessa Thyssen in their Semifinal matchup.
The two surfers were previous finalists in Anglet and got a second chance at winning in the French Basque Country. Criere was quick to go big on his first attempt, posting a solid 7.33 on a long left and three turns. He backed it up right away with 5.67 to apply pressure on Ribeiro from the get-go.
The wave selection was clearly on Criere's side as on the following exchange the goofy foot found three clean sections to push huge turns and post an excellent 9 point ride, further extending his lead. Ribeiro on the other hand started on the following wave of the set but it ran away from him not even offering a single section to hit.
As waves continued to favor the goofy foot, Ribeiro was left surfing super fast lefts, making it extremely difficult to score. Despite his best efforts, with the cards he was dealt, the Portuguese surfer representing Deeply couldn't break out of the combination situation Criere put him in and the Spaniard took the win.
"I'm super happy to win today," he said. "I sort of visualized this moment since the beginning of the week with the good waves I surfed and the scores I got. Every heat was a completely different world and I think I managed to adapt to all those different conditions best this week. This was one event I've always wanted to win really bad right at home and I'm over the moon right now."
Today's marks Criere's third QS win and the first of 2019. He made the Final of the very first edition of the Pro Anglet back in 2015 and finally got a chance to wear the winner's distinction, the traditional Basque hat ‘boïna' on home turf.
The former World Junior Champion Ribeiro made back-to-back Finals in 2018 and 2019 but unfortunately couldn't match Criere's flair today in the last heat and was forced out with another runner-up result. The confidence gained throughout the event however is likely to give the Portuguese surfer plenty of motivation heading into the end of the European leg that will stop twice in his home country.
"I had a little break cause I needed to have a re-set and this was my first event back so I'm super happy with the result," he explained. "More important than the final result was the way I surfed and felt throughout the event. Now the big comps are coming and that's where my focus is going to be. Azores and Ericeira are two of my favorites stops on tour so I really look forward to these. It's awesome to have such an important European leg for us and to be able to surf the spots we really know well and appreciate."
Criere and Ribeiro had previously defeated Pedro Henrique and Gatien Delahaye in the semis. The clash Ribeiro vs. Delahaye was a re-make of last year's Final in Anglet but this time it's the Portuguese surfer who came out on top.
In other news today was the crowning of now 7-time European Champion Pauline Ado in her home town of Anglet. The former Championship Tour surfer clinched yet another regional title, courtesy of two event wins in Caparica and Zarautz earlier this year as well as another couple of good results.
"That was definitely one of my goals this season so I'm happy I could make it happen," she said. "7 titles is something for sure and especially because since I won the first one, the competition has really grown there are more and more girls that win events and they come from everywhere, case and point with Anat winning today for Israel. It's awesome to still be relevant and I hope I can get more in the future."
With the completion of the Deeply Pro Anglet, the European rankings have evolved, here's the new Top 5:
Tune in from August 20-25, 2019 and check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Deeply Pro Anglet the following week.