The third edition of the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche wrapped up today in beautiful two-to-three foot waves. Here's a breakdown of the event's finals.
"I can't believe I've finally won one!" Adur said. "I've been training a lot recently and it looks like it's paid off.I've never made it past the Quarters before but I trained a lot simulating heats in my free surfs and I think it helped."
The young Basque surfer from Zarautz has been a rising star on the European junior scene since his first appearance five years ago and today proved the hype real with his victory over compatriot Odriozola.
"The season is long and there are a lot more events," he added. "The level is high on the tour so I'm going to continue to work hard and do my best to have a strong season. I really enjoyed my week here, the weather was great and we had fun waves!"
In the Final, Amatriain clearly had the better start and at one point he even had his opponent on the ropes in a combination situation, needing two new scores. Odriozola didn't back down and came back in the fight with an excellent 8.40 but ultimately time wasn't on his side and the Spanish surfer had to settle for the runner-up spot.
Unknown to most, Kai Odriozola and his younger brother Hans Odriozola put on a show all week in La Torche and seemed destined for big things. Their path crossed in the Round of 16 where Kai eliminated Hans, and he never looked back as he dominated his Quarter and Semifinal. His Final berth today is a statement that he's one to count on for the remainder of the season on the European JQS.
"It's my first real serious event so I'm super happy to make the Final," Odriozola stated. "With the COVID last year, and the year before that I was injured, so I'm only really starting now from scratch with no seeding. It's good to surf more heats and get in a rhythm for sure. I really hope I can reach the Final again this season and I definitely want to win this time around!"
The women's Final was another really close affair with multiple lead changes throughout the 30-minute bout. Lucia Machado had the upper hand at first, but much like in the men's, her opponent Gabriela Dinis came back with a bang, an excellent 8.00 point ride on a long left. The Canarian kept charging through and eventually turned the heat again to claim her second junior-career win.
Runner-up in the European Junior title race twice in 2019 and 2020, Machado confirmed today she's one of the strongest forces on the continent, as she takes the rankings lead in hopes of breaking that glass-ceiling.
"It was a hard Final and I really struggled," Machado explained. "I did manage to win it in the end so I'm super happy with that result. Gabriella had a great wave and I really had to battle to get the lead again. I'm super happy to be in the lead early on but the season is long and I really hope I can keep it up until the end."
Her opponent Gabriela Dinis (PRT) was only surfing her third event on the WSL junior tours and clearly the underdog going up against some of the toughest competition on her road to the Final. Her surfing was powerful and technical and she is now on everyone's radar as another season gets underway in Europe.
"I'm super happy to have made the Final today," Dinis said. "I had a great score but unfortunately couldn't find a good enough backup, it was tough to find the right ones out there. I'm super happy to keep improving and I want to surf well and try to win on someday."
With the completion of the E.Leclerc Pont L'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche, we have a first look at the 2021 European Junior rankings, here is the Top 5:
European Men's JQS Top 5:
1 - Adur Amatriain (EUK)
2 - Kai Odriozola (ESP)
3 - Afonso Antunes (PRT)
3 - Mael Laborde (FRA)
5 - Sam Piter (FRA)
5 - Neil Aboufiras (MAR)
5 - Luan Nogues (FRA)
5 - Markel Vizcarguenaga (ESP)
European Women's JQS Top 5:
1 - Lucia Machado (CNY)
2 - Gabriela Dinis (PRT)
3 - Juliette Lacome (FRA)
3 - Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (ESP)
5 - Lilou Rumiel (FRA)
5 - Aelan Vaast (FRA)
5 - Francisca Veselko (PRT)
5 - Nahia Milhau (FRA)
The next stop on the European Junior Qualifying Series will take surfers to Praia de Doniños, Ferrol in Galicia from July 23-25, 2021.
Tune in from June 9-13, 2021 and check out all the photos, videos and updates right here on WorldSurfLeague.com!