The last stop on the 2021 World Surf League (WSL) European Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), the Quiksilver and ROXY Junior Pro 40 enjoyed great little conditions over the past two days, culminating with today's finals.
The reduced format and 4-surfer heats all the way allowed event officials to capitalize on two days of very good waves at Culs Nus while Friday seemed less qualitative. Competition wrapped up right before dark with the award ceremony.
In the women's Final, Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri continued to outperform all her competitors on a wave that looked tailor made for her surfing. The light goofyfoot dismantled the perfect little lefts on offer to pick up a second event win and cap off an amazing season with the women's European Junior Title.
"I'm super happy," she said. "It feels like all the work I've done this year really paid off. My sister has beaten me a couple of times so honestly she was the one I was most concerned about in that final but I managed to take it so I'm very happy."
Behind her in second place is another bright young talent starting to make her mark, Tahiti's Aelan Vaast, followed by Etxabarri's younger sister Annette Gonzalez Etxabarri and local surfer Juliette Lacome in fourth place.
The men's Final was a little less one-sided with a good battle between Jacobo Trigo, Mael Laborde, Afonso Antunes and Sam Piter. All four surfers posted waves in the good range and fought off for the lead until the very last moments. Eventually it was Piter's time to shine as the young local surfer claimed his career-first win on the WSL tours. His very solid season sees him finish runner-up on the regional rankings with a couple more opportunities coming up to fight for the title.
"It was a dream of mine to win here right at home so I'm super happy I managed to do it today," Piter said. "Now onto bigger and better things, I hope I can win again in bigger events!"
Behind Piter, Antunes placed second, Trigo third and Laborde fourth of the 2021 Quiksilver Junior Pro 40.
Despite losing in the Semis, Adur Amatriain had built a big enough lead in the regional rankings to secure the 2021 European Junior Title. The young surfer from the Basque Country had a stellar run this year, claiming back-to-back wins in the first two events of La Torche and Ferrol before finishing 7th today. At 17 years old, Amatriain has two more years to surf in the Junior series and continue to build the foundations of a very bright future competitively.
"I calculated how many heats I needed to make to clinch the title and when I did it was a lot of pressure lifted," Amatriain stated. "I also really wanted to try to win here cause I love France and the waves here, so I'm still a little hungry and I'll be back to try again!"
The Junior series are now over for 2021 in Europe, the next event will likely be the Espinho Pro Junior in March/April 2022. The World Surf League has decided to extend the age limit back to 20 starting next year, opening the tour to surfers born until 2002, who will turn 20 years old during the season.