Junior Pro Espinho
WSL European Junior Qualifying Series
Praia de Baia, Espinho Portugal
22 - 25 June, 2017
Bonvalot claims second european junior title while Mignot takes rankings lead before final stop
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 June, 2017 - Praia de Baia - Teresa Bonvalot and Marco Mignot have claimed the 2017 Junior Pro Espinho titles today in excellent two-to-three foot surf at praia de baia. A new push of swell overnight brought super fun conditions to complete the third stop on the European Junior Qualifying Series.
A first exchange in the opening minutes had all four women surfers put a score on the board, Bonvalot taking an early lead on her backhand with a three-turn combination for a 7.33. Vahine Fierro (PYF) opened with a decent score as well, while Juliette Lacome (FRA) and Ellie Turner (GBR) chipped away with lower scores, but briefly took the top two positions.
The Portuguese surfer found a nice left-hander on the ten-minute mark and backed up her top score to re-claim the lead. Patient, Fierro waited a little bit longer and opted to go on a set wave which unfortunately didn’t offer much opportunity.
Eventually the selective option worked out great for Bonvalot who claimed her second consecutive Junior Pro Espinho title with only two waves surfed in the whole final. The reigning European Junior Champion also secured her second regional title with the win today in Portugal.
“It’s really great to win here again in Espinho, obviously winning in Portugal is even more special for me,” Bonvalot said. “I had a lot of fun today, the waves were so much better and even though the final was a little slow I managed to find two good waves and it was enough. I’m excited to look ahead at Kiama, the World Junior Championships now and I’ll do my best there to try to win the title!”
Ellie Turner (GBR), 15, continued to build on her heat total and managed to fence off Fierro to claim a second runner-up result this season after Caparica. The English surfer, who finished the 2016 season in 33rd position overall, has radically improved as she now comforts her No. 2 position on the European rankings.
“I’m really happy with my second place today,” Turner said. “I never really got any big waves in the final, which was a little frustrating, but I feel like I surfed well on the small ones that I got. Wave selection is definitely something I need to work on. I hope I can stay in the Top 2 and qualify too that would be amazing, but if not I know I have a few more years.”
Fierro in third and Lacome in fourth complete the podium.
The men’s final delivered an entertaining start with all surfers taking multiple waves right off the horn. Mignot, Leo Paul Etienne (FRA) and Blouin exchanged good scores while Tiago Carrique (FRA) was left a little distant.
In the all-French final, Mignot started by building a solid lead with two 7+ rides on classic turn combinations. Once the job was done, the talented regular-footer started having fun and going to the air, landing two incredible rotations for a 9.07 and a 9.10. Mignot claims his second Pro Junior event win and takes the European rankings lead before the last event of the season next month.
“I’m super stoked with the win, and I want to thank my dad and Matthias my coach for all their help I couldn’t have done it without them,” Mignot stated. “Once I had those first two waves I really wanted to let loose and have fun, I’m super happy I made the airs. I felt like a grom again and that felt great. Kauli (Vaast) and I have a good battle for first place and we’re great friends so that really pushes us to be the best we can.”
Erwan Blouin (FRA), 17, claims a best-ever runner-up result today in Espinho and takes a big leap from 25th to 8th on the regional rankings as well. The young Frenchman couldn't quite match Mignot’s rhythm in the final but displayed excellent surfing in previous rounds to reach his first final.
“It feels good to make a final!” Blouin said. “I knew it’d be hard to compete with Marco cause the right was better and on my backhand there’s no way I could have done that well. So I stayed on the lefts and tried my best. There’s one more comp in Sopela so I’ll try to win that one!”
Etienne finished in third position a mere 0.1 behind Blouin, and Carrique took fourth place.
Last night, Afonso Antunes (PRT), 13, the highest ranked Portuguese surfer in the event with a fifth place, won a fun expression session presented by event sponsor Lenovo and walked home with a brand new computer.
MEN’S EUROPEAN JUNIOR QS TOP 5:
1 - Marco Mignot (FRA)
2 - Kauli Vaast (PYF)
3 - Theo Julitte (FRA)
4 - Ruben Vitoria (EUK)
4 - Leo Paul Etienne (FRA)
WOMEN’S EUROPEAN JUNIOR QS TOP 5:
1 - Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) ** European Champion**
2 - Ellie Turner (GBR)
3 - Juliette Lacome (FRA)
4 - Maelys Jouault (FRA)
5 - Mafalda Lopes (PRT)