After an incredible fourth day, there are now only four left in the competition at the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO: the Peruvian, Miguel Tudela (aged 20), the South African, Michael February (21 years old), the Australian, Cooper Chapman (20 years old) and the Hawaiian, Joshua Moniz (aged 18). Today (Friday) was exceptional with many outstanding scores and conditions that the experts consider to be the best they have seen in the Qualification Series (QS) in 2015. Tomorrow, the semi-finals, where the standard is going to be very high indeed and the final itself will be extremely exciting, as everyone is so close together. There is so much at stake here as the winner of this brand new event in Martinique will be awarded 3000 points in the QS and will make a huge leap up the rankings in the world surf qualifying circuit. The first semi-final is due to start at around half past nine local time. That will be followed by the second semi-final and then the final, which will determine the name of the first winner of the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO.
It is unusual to find such an exciting day in the World Surf League Qualification Series (QS). On Friday 24th April at Basse-Pointe, the conditions were perfect and the 32 surfers still in the running in the first MARTINIQUE SURF PRO wowed the public during the fourth and fifth round and then the quarter finals. Miguel Tudela, Michael February, Cooper Chapman and Joshua Moniz had to fight hard to earn their place in the final four. Tomorrow, these four excellent surfers will be battling against each other with the clear goal of winning this very first Caribbean leg in the 2015 QS. It is very tricky to make any forecasts about the outcome of this event organised at Basse-Pointe, as they are all around the same level.
A very high standard from the fourth round
The first series in the fourth round set the tone, as we saw when the South African, Beyrick De Vries scored a ten, (the perfect score),and finished his heat on 19 points, which was the highest score since the start of the competition on Tuesday. In the final series in the fourth round, Steven Pierson from Tahiti did not manage to qualify in spite of an excellent score of 15.33 points. At the end of the eight 30-minute long series, 16 surfers qualified for the fifth round and 16 others left the competition promising to return next year. Among them, the four final Frenchmen (from mainland France and the overseas territories): from Hendaye Andy Crière, from Guadeloupe Timothée Bisso, from Tahiti Steven Pierson and Dimitri Ouvre from St Barts, who was also eliminated in spite of a really high score (15.20 points as opposed to 15.46 points awarded to his rival, the South African, Dylan Lightfoot).
“Perfect waves for top class surfing”
In the fifth round, sixteen surfers battled it out in four series. As the day passed by, the wind eased off and the waves became glassy, or perfectly smooth. On top of that, the sun came back out to please the surfers and the many spectators, who were there to watch them. Feeling confident after qualifying in the fourth round and now used to the right-handers at Basse-Pointe, the competitors put on a great show. The final eight battling it out in the last heats of the fifth round all scored more than 14 points. The organisers had planned to stop there on this fourth day. But in the end they decided to make the most of these great waves to start the quarter finals. “The waves were perfect for top class surfing with no wind, and a long 1.5 to 2m swell. When you can take advantage of such conditions, you go for it!” exclaimed Nicolas Clémenté and Nicolas Ursulet of Martinique Surfing, the event organiser. Something changed in the quarter finals with the heats no loner opposing four surfers, but merely two. In the first duel, the Peruvian, Miguel Tudela (16.33 points) beat the Hawaiian, Jiron Jabour (13.37 points). In the second quarter final, the South African, Michael February could not be rivalled obtaining a perfect 10 (the second of the day) then 7.17. The Venezuelan, Francisco Bellorin could do nothing to better that. The third duel was extremely close with victory going to the Australian, Cooper Chapman against the Brazilian, Thiago Camarão (17.73 points to 17.14 points). The final surfer to qualify was the Hawaiian, Joshua Moniz, who beat the South African, Beyrick De Vries. The four surfers eliminated in the quarter finals each won 1260 points in the Qualification Series. Tomorrow, the semi-finalist will earn 1680 points, the finalist 2250 points and the winner 3000 points. A huge prize, which they will be battling hard to win. It all starts tomorrow (Saturday) at 0930hrs.
Facts and figures:
– Since Tuesday 21st April, 106 surfers from five continents have competed in this first MARTINIQUE SURF PRO at the surf spot at Basse-Pointe in the north-east of the island. This brand new event on Martinique is the only Caribbean leg in the World Surf Qualifying Series in 2015. The winner will be given 3000 points in the Qualification Series (QS).
– 4 surfers remain in the competition in the semi-finals and then the final, which will take place tomorrow (Saturday).
– 4 French surfers from the mainland or from the overseas territories made it to the fourth round: Andy Crière from Hendaye, Timothée Bisso from Guadeloupe, Steven Pierson from Tahiti and Dimitri Ouvre from St. Barts. They were all eliminated on Friday.
The schedule for Saturday 25th April, the final day of the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO:
0930hrs: start of the semi-finals and then the final of the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO
1700hrs: prize-giving ceremony
Michael February (South Africa, 21 years old), qualified for the semi-finals: “This is the first time I have reached the semi finals in the QS. I’m very pleased with my day, particularly as I scored 10 in the quarter finals. The standard keeps improving in the MARTINIQUE SURF PRO and I’m delighted to have made it to the final four. The waves were magnificent today. It’s such a pleasure to compete in these conditions.”
Cooper Chapman (Australia, 20 years old), qualified for the semi-finals: “The waves were fantastic today and among the best I have ever surfed in a competition. This was a great day’s surfing. It was a long day with three series of 30 minutes. I’m a bit tired, but I’m feeling fine. I’m going to have a good night’s rest now to be in shape for the semi-final.”
Joshua Moniz (Hawaii, 18 years old), qualified for the semi-finals: “Today was good, the waves are like firing, this is as good as it gets for a contest on the QS and I am super happy. It was a long day, we surfed like four heats, luckily is overcasts most of the day because all the other days were so hot and you get exhausted. Waves here are very different from Hawaii, we don’t really have a point break like this, we have a couple of similar ones, but here I love point breaks and I’m happy to be here surfing the race. The event is good, they really tried to put us in the best possible conditions and waves as possible, so far everything is going great.”
Miguel Tudela (Peru, 20 years old), qualified for the semi-finals:
“It has been a pretty long day, with three rounds and I am very thankful and happy to be in the semifinals. The waves have been great, it has been a great day. The level is very high, we are all surfing well, there have been a couple of tens and very high scores. The island is amazing, it’s like the jungle, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, nature is everywhere. I hope they keep celebrating the event to keep coming here.”