After the third day of the competition today (Tuesday) at Basse-Pointe, there are only 32 surfers left out of the 140 competing in the second Martinique Surf Pro. In the fifth round, we will be seeing competitors from five continents, with the Brazilians well represented with no fewer than seven surfers. They all hope to go all the way and grab the 3000 points that are at stake in the only Caribbean leg of the Qualifying Series (QS). A huge number of points which will allow the winner to leap up the rankings in the world surf qualifying circuit…
There are now only 32 left in the competition to win the second Martinique Surf Pro: seven Brazilians, five Americans, four Frenchmen, three from Portugal, two from Guadeloupe, two Spaniards, two Australians, a surfer from Reunion Island, one each from Japan, Barbados, Peru, South Africa, Argentina and Hawaii. Who will follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, the Hawaiian, Joshua Moniz to take the 3000 valuable points to get through to the Qualifying Series? While some favourites have stood out so far, it seems that everyone left in the competition is still in the running. The eight heats that took place on Tuesday at the Basse-Pointe spot were, like those yesterday, marked by uncertainty until the end.
The stars from the CT make it through
On this third day of the competition, the fourth round was completed. The organizers didn’t lose any time, as the first heat (lasting 30 minutes) began at eight this morning. After a number of surprises yesterday, everyone had their eye on the favourites, starting with the two surfers, who have already taken part in the Championship Tour (CT), the elite group, bringing together the top 34 in the world: the American, Patrick Gudauskas and the Spaniard, Aritz Aranburu. Gudauskas, 29th in the QS in 2015 was almost eliminated. Third with just a few minutes to go to the end of his heat, he grabbed the final wave, which allowed him to move up to second place and get his ticket for the next round. Aranburu’s qualification was also tricky, as it was decided by 0.1 points (11.17 points against 11.07 points for the Hawaiian, Kaito Kino). To remind you, two other former Championship Tour surfers registered for the Martinique Surf Pro (the Brazilian, Willian Cardoso and the American, Brett Simpson) qualified on Monday for the fifth round.
What if the Trophy remained with the Moniz family?
As for the French, Marc Lacomare, one of the country’s best surfers felt the heat. He qualified by just 0.3 points (11.13 points against 11.10 points for Dimitri Ouvré). Another top French surfer, Maxime Huscenot (25th in the QS last year) did not manage to get through his heat, which was won by Medi Veminardi from Reunion Island. Andy Crière, Vincent Duvignac and Diego Mignot made it. Joan Duru and Nomme Mignot are on the other hand out. The final surfer from Martinique in the competition, Arthur Lassée finished fourth in his heat. He nevertheless had a great experience, coming up against some of the world’s leading surfers. We should also mention the qualification of Seth Moniz, the younger brother of Joshua, the winner of the 2015 Martinique Surf Pro, who was eliminated in the fourth round this year. Will the Trophy stay with the Moniz family? It is difficult to say… Nothing can be predicted in these surfing competitions. That is what makes the QS so exciting and in particular the Martinique Surf Pro.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), the surfers are expected to be ready at 7 in the morning at the competition site. The fifth round could begin straight after that, unless the organizers decide to wait before giving the green light. It will all depend on the conditions. We’ll be watching…
Aritz Aranburu (Spain, 30, qualified for the fifth round): “There’s a long way to go to get to the Championship Tour”
“Today was my first heat in the Martinique Surf Pro. The waves weren’t always very regular and we needed to be patient. In these conditions, anyone can win or lose. I finally managed to score with two good waves and make it through. There’s a long way to go to get to the Championship Tour, and a win here would be a good place to start.”
Patrick Gudauskas (USA, 30, qualified for the fifth round): “I’ll try to surf better than today to win the competition.”
“It was a fantastic heat and close right up to the end. I knew I was in a tricky heat against some very good surfers. I’m all the more pleased that I have qualified for the next part of the event. The waves took time to build, but when they arrived they were great. I have travelled to lots of islands, but this is my first time on Martinique. I watched lots of videos to analyze the waves and I couldn’t wait to get out there surfing. I’m going to try to surf better than today to win the event. That’s my goal.”
Arthur Lassée (Martinique, 18, eliminated in the fourth round):
“It was a huge challenge facing world class surfers. I’m looking forward to dedicating myself again to my career and I’m going to have to get used to surfing against the big names. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it in my heat this time. I didn’t deal well with the priorities and wasn’t able to grab a good wave. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to show what I can do. I lived here for 13 years, so know this spot at Basse Pointe well. I really enjoyed coming back here for this competition. I’ll be back next year and will be even more determined not to drop out so early in the event.”
Marc Lacomare (France, 25, qualified for the fifth round): “No room for any mistakes.”
“Today’s conditions weren’t that easy. There was no room for any mistakes. I completely messed up at the start of my heat, but then I got a good wave in the middle, which meant I just scraped through. To be honest, I thought it was over for me. I’m going to get a second chance to show what I can really do.”
Luke Hynd (Australia, 20, qualified for the fifth round): “There’s a great atmosphere at Basse-Pointe.”
“It was a heat where we had to fight hard, but I made it through, which is the main thing. I’m pleased about the way things have gone so far. I would like to get through the next two rounds and make it to the quarter finals, which is the stage of the competition, when we surf one against one. If I manage to get further than that, all well and good. It’s something to aim for. I love the tropical atmosphere and the wild landscapes around Basse-Pointe. There’s a great atmosphere. It’s nice being able to surf so close to the public.”
Vasco Ribeiro (Portugal, 21, qualified for the fifth round: ”I tried hard from the start of the series and my strategy paid off”
“There weren’t many waves, but I kept at it from the start of the heat. My strategy paid off. I’m going to stay in Martinique, which is good news, as it’s a really nice place to come and spend time with the family.”
Slade Prestwich (South Africa, 21, qualified for the fifth round): “Try to be cleverer than the others.”
“The conditions are similar to those at the spot where I live in South Africa. So I didn’t need any time to adapt. When the waves are smaller, as was the case today, you have to try to be cleverer than the others. If I manage to surf like today, I think I’m in with a good chance for several more rounds. In any case, I love it here on Martinique. I’ll be back, not just for the event, but also to spend my holidays here.”
The line-up for the fifth round of the Martinique Surf Pro:7 Brazilians: Marco Fernandez, Ian Gouveia, Alan Donato, Jesse Mendes, Willian Cardoso, Deivid Silva and Rafael Teixeira5 Americans: Patrick Gudauskas, Brett Simpson, Asher Nolan, Griffin Colapinto and Evan Geiselman 4 Frenchmen: Diego Mignot, Marc Lacomare, Andy Crière and Vincent Duvignac 3 Portuguese: Jose Ferreira, Frederico Morais and Vasco Ribeiro 2 from Guadeloupe: Timothée Bisso and Charly Martin2 Spaniards: Aritz Arranburu and Gonzalo Zubizarreta 2 Australians: Ethan Ewing and Luke Hynd1 from Reunion Island: Medi Veminardi1 from Japan: Hiroto Ohhara1 from Barbados: Joshua Burke 1 from Peru: Lucca Mesinas1 South African: Slade Prestwich1 Argentinean: Santiago Muniz1 Hawaiian: Seth Moniz