Excitement Ensues at Martinique Surf Pro


Source: Martinique Surf Pro


Elijah Gates (HAW) © WSL / Poullenot

The excitement is building in the Martinique Surf Pro. On the second day of the competition, on Monday in Basse-Pointe, some of the top surfers in the Qualifying Series entered the ring. In conditions that were rather random, leading to some surprises, the organizers got through the whole of the third round and half of the fourth.

The day saw some major upsets for some of the favourites, including the two finalists from last year, the Hawaiian, Joshua Moniz and the South African, Michael February were both eliminated. As was the Peruvian, Miguel Tudela, semi-finalist in 2015. On the other hand, some other great surfers are still in competition. Today the Brazilians were on form, as were the Americans and the surfers from Guadeloupe.

If we had to sum up this second day of the 2016 Martinique Surf Pro in just one word, it would be “suspense.” In each series, nothing could be taken for granted and qualifying was often down to a few tenths of a point. The waves took some time to build, but the surfers showed their talent making the most of the conditions at Basse-Pointe. Various strategies were adopted. Some decided to go for it to score a maximum number of points, while others held back hoping for better waves.

Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) © WSL / Poullenot
Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) © WSL / Poullenot

Third round: a close result and some stand out results
This second day of the competition was as intense as the first, as the competition go underway at 7 this morning. Conditions were not simple, but 4 surfers nevertheless managed to get scores above 15 points in the third round: the Puerto Rican, Brian Toth (with 16.27 points, including one wave with 9.17 points), the Frenchman, Vincent Duvignac (15.26 points), the surfer from St Barth, Dimitri Ouvré (15.13 points) and the Venezuelan, Rafael Pereira (15.10points). Among the surprises in this third round, we saw Lucas Silveira just missing out, the current junior world champion, (12.07 points as opposed to 12.33 points for the runner-up in the series, the South African, Matthew McGillivray). Seeing one of the favourites go out at this stage of the competition proves how high the standard is at this year’s Martinique Surf Pro. However, the elimination of one of the big names was not to be the only surprise of the day…

Fourth round: favourites knocked out
After 16 series lasting 25 minutes, the third round came to an end. The organizers immediately launched the fourth round. This is when we really got into the heart of the matter with the arrical of the best surfers from the 2016 Martinique Surf Pro. The heats lasted 30 minutes allowing the surfers to have enough time to express themselves on the right handers at Basse-Pointe. This fourth round began with a huge shock. Everything was fgoing well for the Hawaiian, Ezekiel Lau, the leading player in this Martinique Surf Pro, 19th in the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2015. He achieved a remarkable performance and was awarded a score of 16.50 points. But with five minutes to go in the series, he did not give way and was penalized by the judges.

Rafael Teixeira (BRA) © WSL / Poullenot
Rafael Teixeira (BRA) © WSL / Poullenot

What was bad news for one was good for another, with the Frenchman, Diego Mignot qualifying in his place. Semi-finalist last year, the Peruvian, Miguel Tudela was the next victim, followed by the South African, Michael February, finalist in the 2015 Martinique Surf Pro. In the penultimate series of the day, the title-holder, Joshua Moniz was also knocked out… On Tuesday, 16 surfers are on their way to the fifth round. We should stress the superb performances from two surfers from Guadeloupe, Timothée Bisso and Charly Martin, winners in their respective series. The Brazilians were in great shape with six of them making it through to the next round: Marco Fernandez, Ian Gouveia, Alan Donato, Jesse Mendes, Willian Cardoso and Deivid Silva.

The other surfers to qualify are the Americans, Brett Simpson, Asher Nolan and Griffin Colapinto, the Frenchman, Diego Mignot, the Japanese surfer, Hiroto Ohhara, the Australian, Ethan Ewing, from Barbados, Josh Burke and from Spain, Gonzalo Zubizarreta. The names of the sixteen other surfers to qualify will be announced tomorrow (Tuesday), if conditions and waves allow. We shall be keeping a close eye on some of the big French surfers, (Maxime Huscenot, Marc Lacomare and Joan Duru), as well as two former members of the Championship Tour, the top names world surfing, the Spaniard, Aritz Aranburu and the American, Patrick Gudauskas. Will they manage to hold on to their position? There are a lot of uncertainties, with Monday confirming that it is not going to be easy to choose favourites in this second Martinique Surf Pro…

Brian Toth (PRI) © WSL / Poullenot
Brian Toth (PRI) © WSL / Poullenot

Quotes

Lucas Silveira (Brazil, 20, Junior World Champion, eliminated in the third round): “Our sport depends on what nature throws at us…”

“I wasn’t good enough to get through my series. That’s part of the game in these surfing competitions, where many different factors come into play. Our sport depends on what nature throws at us, the quality of the waves, the other competitors and the way the judges grade us. But I enjoyed the surfing here, as the waves are fantastic and fast and that’s not just in Basse-Pointe.”

Vincent Duvignac (France, 28, qualified for the fourth round): “The wait was stressful, as I didn’t really have the opportunity to train in this spot before entering the competition. Winning my series in the third round was therefore a huge relief. The conditions were very tricky early on with the waves taking time to build. But later, some great series of waves appeared and everyone got a good score. The first edition of the Martinique Surf Pro was a success and that is what motivated me to come here. On top of that, I have wanted to discover the island for a very long time.”

Seth Moniz (Hawaii, 18, qualified for the fourth round): “My brother Joshua gave me some precious advice about how to surf well at Basse-Pointe.”

“The series was fairly slow to begin with. I decided to wait for the right waves. Meanwhile, my opponents jumped in and scored points. I then managed to get two great waves and get a score, which enabled me to win my series and get through to the fourth round. My brother Joshua won the Martinique Surf Pro last year and he gave me some precious advice about how to surf well at Basse-Pointe.”

Ian Gouveia (Brazil, 23, qualified for the fifth round): “I hope that the Martinique Surf Pro will continue to take place every year!”

“I really enjoyed surfing today and I won my series, so everything is fine. Last year, I came to Martinique for the first time. I loved this location and it’s a pleasure to be back here again. I hope that the Martinique Surf Pro will continue to take place every year!”

Michael February (South Africa, 22, finalist in 2015 and eliminated in the fourth round this year): “I’m planning on coming back next year!”

“I was a finalist last year. Getting eliminated at the start is of course a disappointment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good series and when you’re up against good surfers, that is useless. But I’m pleased to be here in Martinique and I really want to come back next year.”

Willian Cardoso (Brazil, 30, qualified for the fifth round): “I’m pleased to be representing Brazil in Martinique.”

“Whenever I compete, it’s always with the goal of getting to the final. Obtaining a victory when surfing well is the best way to get started. I’m pleased to move on in this competition and to be representing Brazil in Martinique.”

Joshua Moniz (Hawaii, 19, winner in 2015, eliminated in the fourth round this year): “Mistakes which cost me a lot”

“I made a few mistakes, which cost me a lot. In particular, I waited too long at the start of the series and I lost my rhythm. I really want to support my brother now, as he is still in the competition. He needs the points, so I hope he can advance in the competition. I’m confident, as he is surfing really well at the moment.”

Quinn McCrystal (USA) © WSL / Poullenot
Quinn McCrystal (USA) © WSL / Poullenot

Charly Martin (Guadeloupe, 26, qualified for the fifth round): “I came here to win and represent Guadeloupe all the way.”

“I’m taking part in the Martinique Sur Pro to win and am trying to represent Guadeloupe all the way. I’m hoping to take advantage of the Martinique Surf Pro to get set up for the rest of the season, trying various boards and gaining confidence. I was in the same series as Joshua Moniz. His elimination proves that defending your title in the QS is never that easy.”