New Zealand’s Ella Williams, 21, has won the women’s Médoc Océan Lacanau Pro over local surfer Justine Dupont (FRA), 24, in two-to-three foot lefts and rights.
Dupont and Williams engaged in a tight back-and-forth battle in the fading swell, mainly scoring medium scores in the first half of the final until the French surfer took a first good score for the lead. Dupont started on a left-hander and managed to squeeze in three turns for a 6.00.
Williams answered with a very similar ride, on a slightly weaker wave for a 5.43 to stay in the race. The former World Junior Champion, Williams kept surfing the first waves of each set, reaching the lineup back first to keep the priority and her choice of wave for most of the final. This lead Williams to start on a great right-hander to tag multiple radical backhand turns for an excellent 8.17 and the win.
“I’m so happy, all year I haven’t had a win so it’s a really nice feeling to get back again,” an ecstatic Williams said. “The higher tide in our last heat sort of stopped delivering waves but we made the most of it. I was lucky to be in a priority position when that right came through, but I tried to time them and be ready, that definitely paid off. I’ll be moving on to Spain now and will take it heat by heat again but it’d be great another good result there for sure.”
One of the most spectacular surfer this week, and consistent through the earlier rounds, local Lacanau rider Dupont was unfortunately not in position for what was the best wave of the final and had to watch her opponent ride her way to victory. However, the new found form of Dupont is a good sign for the French surfer in her requalification efforts in this back half of the season.
“I surfed a lot of heats and had good scores all-event so I’m definitely getting back into a great rhythm,” she admitted. “My new strategies and hard work seem to pay off, well except in the finals, but I’m happy. I’ve worked extensively with my coaches, mentally and physically, and will have their support in the next event in Anglet so I look forward to competing some more and trying to win an event again !”
Former Championship Tour resident Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), 33, had a hard time finding the gems in a bumpier lineup this afternoon and couldn’t quite rival with Dupont’s excellent wave choices. Despite great surfing earlier in the event, Bevilacqua placed equal third and will move on to her next event at the Pro Anglet with another great result under her belt.
Author of yet another amazing run in this event, current European QS leader and recent finalist in England Ariane Ochoa (EUK), 18, was unfortunately unable to match Williams’ rhythm in their semifinal bout and was forced out of the event in equal third place. The Basque junior proved once again she’s one of the most promising forces in the European contingent and will look to continue on her amazing roll when competitors head to Anglet next week.
Earlier in the day, the first half of the men’s third round saw the event’s top seeds take it to the water in the clean two-to-three foot peelers and a brilliant A-frame type of peak, giving everyone opportunities to feature their best surfing.
Reigning European Champion Pedro Henrique (PRT), 34, launched his summer leg assault in Lacanau today with a good first heat to advance to Round 4 alongside French powerhouse Marc Lacomare. The long-time Portuguese QS threat had the best of starts this season with a victory in Israel but has somewhat lacked consistency mid-season, now sitting 57th on the QS ranks.
“Conditions were super good this morning, we had a great heat with a lot of waves for everyone,” he said. “I’m just back from the ISA games where I competed with the Portuguese team that was great too. I’m enjoying every contest, I’m just trying to get better and score points, my main goal is qualification as always. I’m traveling with the family here, it’s the best part cause I don’t feel like I’m missing out away from home and they’re a great support team.”
Brazil’s air specialist Yago Dora (BRA), 20, barely escaped a tight battle with Jake Marshall (USA), despite scoring the best score of the day, a near-perfect 9.60 for a gigantic backhand rotation.
“I made so many mistakes in that heat I’m really not stoked about it,” he reflected. “Luckily I had that little back up cause all my other waves were terrible, I got two nice lefts and fell, I wasn’t happy about it. I feel like I was immature, I should have gotten a back up score really fast after that big score, instead I went big on all the waves and almost blew it ! I now have one more chance to get it right !”
Nomme Mignot (FRA), 19, secured his first QS heat win this season with a solid combo of a radical top turn before launching into a forehand full rotation into the flats. The former finalist in Lacanau clinched an excellent 9 point ride and a ticket for the fourth round.
Surfers and organizers will reconvene Saturday at 7:30AM for a new call to decide if conditions allow the men’s event to restart.
MÉDOC OCÉAN LACANAU PRO WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Ella Williams (NZL) 13.60
2 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 12.57