The first day of the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO lived to up its promise on Tuesday 21st April at the surf spot at Basse-Pointe, in the north-east of the island. With excellent conditions and a great atmosphere, the surfers from all four corners of the Earth put on a fantastic show out on the water in this brand new event for Martinique, the only Caribbean leg in the World Surf League Qualification Series (QS) in 2015. It was an intense programme with no fewer than twenty series lasting 25 minutes each, which meant that the whole of the first round was completed and a large part of the second. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the level should move up a notch with the top surfers entering the competition in this third round.
The first MARTINIQUE SURF PRO is now well and truly underway. "We had an excellent opening day with great waves breaking in a very interesting way. We saw some nice moves and the surfers and spectators were certainly pleased," declared a very happy Nicolas Ursulet from Martinique Surfing, the event organiser. It was at 8.15 this morning (Tuesday) that the very first series in the history of the competition began on the surf spot at Basse-Pointe. Seven other series followed during the morning, meaning that by the middle of the day, the first round bringing together 26 least well positioned surfers in the World Surf League Qualification Series (QS), had been completed. From the first pools, the standard was impressive. In each heat, three or four surfers battled it out simultaneously for 25 minutes. As soon as one competitor caught a wave, the five judges awarded a score on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the perfect score, based on the following criteria: commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and varied moves, speed, power and flow. With five scores given to the surfer at the end of his wave, the highest and lowest scores were discarded and the average of the three remaining scores calculated. At the end of the series, the two best waves were added up to give a total out of 20 points. The two surfers with the best overall scores qualified for the second round and the others were eliminated.
An international line-up with a strong South American presence
During the afternoon, twelve series of the second round took place. "The idea was to make the most of these good conditions to ensure as many series as possible could take place. We can then choose the best conditions for the next rounds," explained Nicolas Ursulet. Proving the international character of this event, on Tuesday we saw surfers from the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Barth, Barbados, St-Martin) but also from Brazil, Great Britain, France, Peru, Reunion Island, Puerto Rico, the United States, Chile, Hawaii, Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, Spain and South Africa. Tomorrow, more nationalities will be added to this list, which is already quite impressive. During this first day, we saw some particularly strong performances from the South American surfers. Out of the 24 competitors, who got their place in the third round, 9 came from South America (including 7 Brazilians). And 5 were French: the brothers, Tom and Nelson Cloarec, Tristan Guilbaud, Andy Criere and from Guadeloupe, Thimothée Bisso.
Moving up a step on Wednesday
Tomorrow, for the second day of the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO, the organisers plan to launch the final four series in the second round, before they probably begin the third round. We will then be into the heart of the action, as it is at this stage of the competition that the top 29 surfers in the 2015 QS, as well as three benefiting from wild cards (invitations): the surfers from Martinique Jerry Shaefer, Louca Jourdan and Adam Auffay, all enter the ring. The standard promises to be very high.
Tristan Guilbaud (France, 24 years old), obtained the day's highest score of 18.60 points in the second round and has qualified for the third round: "This is my first time on Martinique and I'm pleasantly surprised by the quality of the waves at Basse-Pointe. We're spoilt to be able to compete in such conditions. I enjoy riding in my bathing costume in waters that are very different from in Vendée on the Atlantic coast of France. The waves here are nice to surf, but you have to be clever to make it through the softer sections. We surf right up close to the competitors who are ashore and the public. It's great to hear people supporting us. We are giving it our all."
Dimitri Ouvre (Saint Barth, 23 years old), winner of the two series with respectively 11.90 points (first round) and 15.83 points (second round ): "I'm discovering Martinique and I'm surprised. I didn't know they had such great waves here! In this competition, we are able to take advantage of a priority system which works well allowing everyone to express themselves, which isn't the case in all of the QS 3000 events. I made good progress during the day and I'm ready for a third round which looks tough..."
Alan Donato (Brazil, 29 years old), winner of his series in the second round with 17.37 points: "It's not easy for Brazilian surfers to come here. But I don't have any regrets as the waves are of a really high quality. And I need to gain points to be able to compete in the most important event sin the QS in the second part of the year. I'm very pleased with my day and I hope to continue to get good results in the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO."
The day's numbers
20 series lasting 25 minutes each
454 waves surfed and judged
18.60 points – the highest score of the day, obtained by the French surfer, Tristan Guilbaud, just ahead of Ian Gentil from Hawaii (with 18.20 points)
REMAINING MARTINIQUE SURF PRO ROUND OF 96 MATCHUPS:
Heat 13: Kilian Garland (USA), Kekoa Cazimero (HAW), Adam Auffay (MTQ), Tomas Tudela (PER)
Heat 14: Rafael Teixeira (BRA), Jacob Szekely (USA), Charly Quivront (FRA), Ulualoha Napeahi (HAW)
Heat 15: Matt Lewis Hewitt (NZL), Ethan Egiguren (EUK), Cam Richards (USA), Derek Peters (USA)
Heat 16: Makai McNamara (HAW), Jake Davis (USA), Joshua Burke (BRB), Nomme Mignot (FRA)
MARTINIQUE SURF PRO ROUND OF 96 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) 15.83, Manuel Selman (CHL) 13.63, Luan Wood (BRA) 13.30, Lucca Saldivar (PER) 10.70
Heat 2: Renato Galvao (BRA) 15.00, Noah Schweizer (USA) 13.27, Reubyn Ash (GBR) 7.00, Johnny Noris (USA) 4.00
Heat 3: Alan Donato (BRA) 17.37, Caina Barletta (BRA) 13.23, Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 12.40, Eala Stewart (HAW) 7.27
Heat 4: Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 18.60, Tomas King (CRI) 12.14, Ricardo Delgado (PRI) 11.40, Cody Robinson (AUS) 9.93
Heat 5: Paulo Moura (BRA) 14.23, Taylor Clark (USA) 11.24, Gatien Delahaye (GLP) 10.40, Wesley Leite (BRA) 9.00
Heat 6: Reo Inaba (JPN) 10.17, Kona Oliveira (HAW) 9.23, William Aliotti (FRA) 8.56, Brandon Todd (USA) 5.77
Heat 7: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.33, Weslley Dantas (BRA) 13.40, Chris Foster (HAW) 9.47, Oney Anwar (IDN) 0.00
Heat 8: Thiago Guimaraes (BRA) 13.67, Yago Dora (BRA) 12.50, Bruce MacKie (USA) 10.04, Philippe Chagas (BRA) 8.50
Heat 9: Tom Cloarec (FRA) 15.40, Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 11.73, Tales Araujo (BRA) 7.94, Joao Marco Maffini (HAW) 7.50
Heat 10: Ian Gentil (HAW) 18.20, Andy Criere (FRA) 15.80, Luke Shepardson (HAW) 8.16, Balaram Stack (USA) 8.13
Heat 11: Nic Hdez (USA) 15.13, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 14.76, Enzo Cavallini (GLP) 7.67, Myles Laine-Toner (USA) 5.54
Heat 12: Slade Prestwich (ZAF) 12.67, Kaisa Kawamura (JPN) 11.57, Julen Egiguren (EUK) 9.80, Colt Ward (USA) 9.37
MARTINIQUE SURF PRO ROUND OF 112 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) 11.90, Reubyn Ash (GBR) 11.40, Anthony Fillingim (CRI) 0.00
Heat 2: Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 15.83, Ricardo Delgado (PRI) 7.40, Leo Paul Etienne (GLP) 7.33
Heat 3: Wesley Leite (BRA) 9.56, Brandon Todd (USA) 7.34, Nicolas Chalonec (MTQ) 4.96
Heat 4: Weslley Dantas (BRA) 11.76, Philippe Chagas (BRA) 10.93, Oliver Kurtz (USA) 10.83
Heat 5: Tales Araujo (BRA) 8.80, Balaram Stack (USA) 8.03, Dane MacKie (BRB) 7.07
Heat 6: Enzo Cavallini (GLP) 13.83, Colt Ward (USA) 11.90, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 10.16, Thomas Doumenjou (FRA) 9.43
Heat 7: Tomas Tudela (PER) 12.87, Ulualoha Napeahi (HAW) 6.82, Nanook Ballerin (BLM) 6.54
Heat 8: Derek Peters (USA) 14.30, Nomme Mignot (FRA) 12.77, Titouan Boyer (MAF) 8.80