The QS1,000 Animal Pro and LQS1,000 BFGoodrich Longboard Pro were completed today at Boardmasters Open in clean two-to-three foot surf at Fistral beach. The events faced an extremely difficult forecast and had to shorten the formats and use double-banks to run the entirety of the 84 heats in two days of competition.
Competitors enjoyed really fun conditions yesterday and today, culminating with the finals held on a hot summer afternoon in Cornwall with the four deserving winners hoisting their trophies in front of large and enthusiastic crowds.
Local Pro Takes On European New Guard
Stop No. 2 of 10 in the 2022/23 European Qualifying Series, the Animal Pro counts towards surfers' efforts to qualify for next year's Challenger Series. It's early days but every result counts and the points earned today could go a long way by year's end.
Bitor Garitaonandia, Thomas Ledee, Marco Mignot and Jobe Harriss reached the Animal Mens Pro Final with big performances yesterday, and fought it out for the win this afternoon. Harriss, the local surfer from Cornwall has competed in this event since 2012 and today faced three up-and-coming talents starting to dominate at the regional level.
In the Final, French Caribbean surfer Ledee started off the strongest with the best score of the heat as his first wave and kept a strong hold on the lead to claim his first-ever QS win, in his first-ever QS Final. Coming off an equal 5th place in his last event, the young surfer from St Barthelemy is building a strong case as one of the emerging forces in French surfing. This result rocketed him into first place of the regional rankings early in the season.
"It's awesome to win, especially in small conditions, I really didn't expect it," he admitted. "I'm definitely more of a power surfer but I was really focused on each heat and trying to do my own thing, so I'm glad it worked out. I'm off to the next two French events extremely motivated and my goal is to qualify for the Challengers so I'll keep working towards that."
Garitaonandia placed second, Harriss third and Mignot took fourth in the Final.
Iberian Women's QS Final a Common Clash
Ariane Ochoa, Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri, Yolanda Hopkins and Laura Coviella all made the Final courtesy of dominating form through yesterday's never-ending rounds. Hopkins was defending her title as she won the event in 2019 the last time it ran, Ochoa and Gonzalez Etxabarri are both common faces in the latter stages of events and Coviella cracked her glass-ceiling to reach a career-first Final on the WSL tours.
In the Final, the Portuguese Olympian Hopkins dominated proceedings wire-to-wire to claim her career-second win on the QS, and back-to-back at Fistral after her 2019 title. Her powerful brand of surfing was on full display with crowds lining up the ocean's edge to take it all in up close.
"It's such a whole vibe here I'm loving it," she said. "People are super excited and very supportive. Yesterday was tough, I didn't even have my own boards but I was feeling all the support and the waves were fun. I'm super happy to take my second win here again in Newquay."
Gonzalez Etxabarri placed second, Coviella third and Ochoa took fourth in the Final.
Rookies Take On International Stars in Men's Longboard Final
Current World No. 4 Ben Skinner and multiple event winner Edouard Delpero, two of the best longboarders in the world, took on rookies Nicolás Andrade and Frederico Carrilho in the LQS1,000 BFGoodrich Longboard Pro Final.
This event is the first of the season for European longboarders and with currently no other stage confirmed, the result at Fistral carries massive importance in the race to qualify for the World Longboard Tour.
In the Final, the Spaniard Andrade took the world by surprise with an incredible ride on a long left punctuated by a beautiful hang-ten soul arch to post an excellent 8.67, the highest single score of the entire event. Andrade backed it up with a 7.40 and delivered a massive upset against the undeniable crowd-favorite Skinner and Delpero.
In his first-ever WSL event, Andrade managed to top some of the best surfers on tour to take out the win in spectacular fashion.
"My very first WSL event I can't believe it!" an ecstatic Andrade said. "The Spanish federation helped me to come compete here, I'm here with good friends and the vibes are great. Coming here I was hoping to do well but to come out with the win is quite surreal. That wave that came to me in the Final was amazing, a beautiful wall, I just tried to stay calm but I knew it could be the winning wave."
Skinner placed second, Delpero third and Carrilho took fourth in the Final.
Lemoigne Continues to Steamroll Competition in Women's Longboard Final
Alice Lemoigne, Raquel Bento, Maya Glasenapp and Carlota Jauregui met in the BFGoodrich Longboard Pro women's Final and once again the French surfer from Reunion Island Lemoigne absolutely destroyed her competition.
The former runner-up in the world, a now 4-time winner at Fistral who has 9 wins on the WSL tours, put on a flawless performance with two huge scores for her graceful and technical long rides on the nose of her longboard.
"I'm not having my best season on the world tour in Manly and Huntington so that win today is a great booster for morale," she said. "I love coming here, we always have lots of fun, the weather was incredible and waves were really fun again this year. I was stoked to see younger girls rip too, they really impressed me and I look forward to competing again with them."
Bento placed second, Glasenapp third and Jauregui took fourth in the Final.
With the completion of the Boardmasters Open, the race to the European QS and Longboard titles continue, here are the current rankings' leaders:
European Men's QS Top 5:
1 - Adur Amatriain (EUK)
1 - Thomas Ledee (FRA)
1 - Bitor Garitaonandia (ESP)
1 - Kai Odriozola (ESP)
5 - Sam Piter (FRA)
5 - Leon Glatzer (DEU)
European Women's QS Top 5:
1 - Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)
2 - Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (ESP)
3 - Alys Barton (GBR)
4 - Rachel Presti (DEU)
5 - Teresa Bonvalot (PRT)
European Men's LQS Top 4:
1 - Nicolas Andrade (ESP)
2 - Ben Skinner (GBR)
3 - Edouard Delpero (FRA)
4 - Frederico Carrilho (PRT)
European Women's LQS Top 4:
1 - Alice Lemoigne (FRA)
2 - Raquel Bento (PRT)
3 - Maya Glasenapp (REU)
4 - Carlota Jauregui (ESP)
Surfers will be heading down to France soon to prepare for the next event on the 2022-23 European Qualifying Series, the Caraïbos Lacanau Pro, starting Tuesday, August 16, 2022.
Boardmasters Open surfing events were scheduled from August 10-14, 2022 at Fistral Beach, Cornwall - England. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
Boardmasters Open surfing events, the QS1,000 Animal Mens and Womens Pro and the LQS1,000 BFGoodrich Longboard Pro and Havaianas Junior Open are supported by Animal, BFGoodrich, Havaianas, Rubicon RAW Energy and FULFIL as well as media partners Carve and SurfGirl among others.