The QS10,000 ABANCA Galicia Classic Surf Pro resumed on a grey morning and bumpy surf but as the tide turned early this afternoon, waves started to pump and the action rose up a notch.
Once again the day was dominated by some of the world's best surfers as the women's event decided the quarterfinalists in pulsing lefts. Scores in the excellent range almost became the norm and a few athletes even managed to score above 9.
"I had a slow start and didn't get a wave for about ten minutes but then finally had a set wave with a couple of turns," Macaulay said. "I got an 8 and it's nice to have one big score cause you can then be more patient and selective."
Nichols officially secured her seat on the 2020 Championship Tour roster as she is guaranteed another major result this season and a massive tally on the QS rankings (currently over 19,000 points with an equal 5th in Pantin) that will seal her spot in the qualifying Top 6.
"Qualifying has been my dream for as long as I can remember," she said. "It's been a long haul over the last five years to get there, but all the hours and all the sweat and all the close heats have paid off and I'm over the moon! I'm super thankful to everyone who's helped me along the way, I'm super excited for next year to begin and I'm ready to start a new journey."
Another couple of surfers made big moves today, like 2016 CT athlete Chelsea Tuach who hadn't competed since taking out the QS3,000 Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing in June. The Barbados surfer kept her dream run alive in Pantin with a come-from-behind win over Ren Hashimoto.
"That was kind of a dream comeback for me," she said. "I was having a lot of fun out there, just not finding the ones that stood up and offered the chance to do dynamic turns. It came together in the end and I've just been loving it here. Everybody loves coming to Spain and it's such a great opportunity with the upgrade to 10,000 this year."
A six-year veteran on the CT who failed to re-qualify last season, Sage Erickson is also guaranteed to re-join her friends on the biggest stage next season as she virtually took over the QS lead with 19,600 points before the event finals. A two-time winner in Galicia and runner-up to Coco Ho last year, Erickson continues to own the Pantin lineup with solid surfing.
Heat 7 between Amuro Tsuzuki and Johanne Defay was a proper nail biter with both surfers attacking the lefts on their backhand with radical turns. The young Japanese surfer opened fire first with a 7.33 on her opening ride to put pressure on the current World No. 10.
Defay caught a good left halfway through the heat and tagged it three times as everyone thought she'd finally make her move but on the very next wave Tsuzuki went to town on an exact replica of the wave to get the crowds going wild. Both scores came in as 9 point rides and the Japanese walked away with the biggest win of her young career and a massive leap in the rankings.
"I'm so happy to make this heat and to be in the Quarters now," she said. "I was lucky enough to get that wave for a 9.00 and it was awesome to surf against Johanne, she's a great surfer and I have a lot of respect for her."
Competition also ran through the opening round of the men's event which featured 32 surfers vying for a spot in the top seeded Round 2. Jackson Baker kept the Australian epic run alive with a 9.27 to kick things off. That incredible score however was only good enough to take second place as New-Zealand's Elliot Paerata-Reid posted two 8+ waves for the win in the opening heat of the men.
Young French junior surfer Justin Becret was originally 39th on the alternate list for this event but somehow found his way into a red jersey in the opening round and made sure to capitalize on the opportunity as he surfed his way to a 13.27 heat total and the first advancing position into Round 2.
"I came here with Richard Marsh just to train and I'm stoked I could get in in the end," he said. "I'm happy to make it through along with Thomas who's a good friend and there's a good crew of Franchise here supporting too."
Surfers will be back at 10 a.m Tuesday for a men's call, women surfers will have a morning off and a first call at 1 p.m.
The ABANCA Galicia Classic Surf Pro is scheduled from September 1-7, 2019 at playa de Pantin, Galicia / Spain. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.