The surfers and members of the World Surf League (the international professional surf league) who were present in Basse-Pointe last year were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the waves and the professionalism of the organisers of the Martinique Surf Pro. Tour manager for the WSL in Europe, Rob Gunning is looking forward to this year’s edition, which will take place from 17th to 24th April and promises to be even more exciting.
Rob, looking back, what are your thoughts about the maiden edition of the Martinique Surf Pro?
“This event was a huge success. As it was a brand new event on a new spot, we didn’t know what to expect. Throughout the week, the competitors took advantage of world class waves. It was one of the finest events in the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2015. The organisation went smoothly and was efficient. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and the Martinique Surf Pro was extremely well run. We were very well received. It is a very special competition, with a particularly warm atmosphere and the public were enthusiastic. We are pleased that the Martinique Surf Pro is back again in the 2016 calendar.”
Was it a surprise for you and the surfers to see such great waves in Martinique?
“Yes, as like me, a lot of surfers were visiting the island for the first time. We knew that the timing was right because the trade winds were lighter and did not disturb the waves as much. But to be honest, we didn’t expect that. We were surprised by the Basse-Pointe spot, but also by the other beaches on Martinique. All of the surfers left the island with a smile on their face.”
That is why so many are returning this year for the second edition of theMartinique Surf Pro...
“Exactly. The winner, Joshua Moniz will be back to defend his title and we will be able to see the two finalists from last year, as well as lots of the other stars from the maiden edition. There will also be some newcomers, surfers, who regretted not being there in 2015. They know they missed a great event. The Martinique Surf Pro will be one of the most important competitions in the first six months of 2016 during which the least important events in the QS tend to be organised. A lot is at stake, as the surfer, who pockets the 3000 points in Martinique will leap up the rankings and will be in a good position for the rest of the season. The event is both in the European and North American calendars. It is an opportunity for the surfers to move up the regional rankings.”
So, we can look forward to a competition with a very high standard?
“Yes, I’m certain that the standard will be even higher this year. The event is full with128 surfers representing 20 to 25 nationalities. We will see more surfers from higher up in the QS and it is going to be harder to get points. The pressure will be a notch higher and it’s going to feel very tense, which is great for the spectators. Interest in the event is growing and it is becoming more popular, so we can expect even more people to turn up. This progress is natural as the competition is aiming for the long term and will grow from year to year. We have suggested a few improvements so that this second edition is even better.”
What are these improvements?
“They chiefly affect the lay out of the event site. The natural landscape at Basse-Pointe means there isn’t much room and we have to deal with that. Last year, the limited space was used efficiently. But we can suggest some improvements, in particular to ensure that the general public can watch the event in the best conditions.”