Top class world surfers, the best waves possible, huge crowds enjoying the show. Everything came together on Sunday at Basse-Pointe for an exciting final day at the Martinique Surf Pro. In the end, it was the Portuguese surfer Frederico Morais (24), who won the only Caribbean leg in the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2016. He won the final against the Spaniard, Gonzalo Zubizarreta (30). Eliminated in the semi-final, the Brazilian, Deivid Silva (21) and the Australian Luke Hynd (20) took joint third place. Thanks to these great performances in a QS 3,000 event, these four surfers will leap up the rankings of the world surf qualifying circuit.
Four Brazilians, three Frenchmen (including two from Guadeloupe), two American, two Spaniards, two from Portugal, an Australian, a Peruvian and a South African. On Sunday morning, 16 surfers got up with the same goal and hope: they wanted to win the Martinique Surf Pro and grap 3000 points in the world surf qualifying circuit. To join the elite group in the Championship Tour (CT), bringing together the 34 top surfers from around the world the competitors take part in the qualifying events in the QS circuit. At the end of the season, the top ten in the QS join the CT.
The sixth round set the tone
The day began with the sixth round. In the very first heat, we could see that this was going to be a Sunday people would not forget. The standard moved up a notch with waves worthy of Basse-Pointe, allowing the surfers to express their full talent. They all worked hard on their maneuvers. The surfers gave as good as they got. To remind you, the judges awarded a score of 0 to 10 based on the following criteria: commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and varied maneuvers, speed and how one move led to another.
In the first heat, the Brazilian, Jesse Mendes and the Spaniard, Gonzalo Zubizarreta qualified with respectively 14.67 and 14.07 points, knocking out the Frenchmen, Diego Mignot (in spite of an honourable score of 13.47) and Timothée Bisso.
French hopes rested on the other surfer from Guadeloupe, Charly Martin, who was up against three tough surfers from Brazil in the second heat of the sixth round. But Charly didn’t make it, unlike Ian Gouveia and Deivid Silva.
Another former member of the Championship Tour, the Spaniard, Aritz Aranburu was watched very closely in the following heat. But he lost to the South African, Slade Prestwich and the Portuguese surfer, Vasco Ribeiro, junior world champion in 2014.
Another former member of the CT, the American, Patrick Gudauskas did battle in the final heat of the sixth round. He too just missed out, beaten by the Portuguese surfer, Frederico Morais (awarded the best score in the sixth round of 15.86 points) and the Australian Luke Hynd.
These eight surfers leaving the sixth round in Martinique with 900 points were obviously disappointed, although they all had some great performances at Basse-Pointe.
Quarter final duels
For the quarter finals, thy switched to duels, with the winner getting through and the loser eliminated quite simply. The first duel brought together two Brazilians, Jesse Mendes and Deivid Silva, 5th in the 2016 QS before the Martinique Surf Pro, who would have made it to second place, if they had won at Basse-Pointe. Silva got a fantastic result winning his duel with a score of 16.00 points.
In the second quarter final, another Brazilian, Ian Gouveia was up against Gonzalo Zubizarreta. It was an extremely close duel. With 8 minutes to go to the end, Gouveia was ahead of Zubizarreta by just 0.2 points. But thanks to a fine wave graded 8.33 points, the Spaniard made it through to the semi-final. After entering in the first round in Martinique, 393rd in the QS in 2015 and 170th in 2016 before the competition, Luke Hynd was the surprise qualifier for the quarter finals, where he came up against Slade Prestwich. The two surfers finished the heat on equal points with a score of 13.30 points. Hynd qualified thanks to a better wave graded 6.97 points (with Prestwich getting 6.83 points).
The quarter finals finished with a battle between two Portuguese surfers. On top form, Frederico Morais qualified with a superb score of 18.17 points (including a wave of 9.50 points). This gave him a huge boost for the semi-final. The four eliminated in the quarter finals could console themselves each getting 1260 points in the QS.
An international final four
Oner Brazilian, one Spaniard, one Australian and one Portuguese surfer. That was the line-up for the semi-finals of the 2016 Martinique Surf Pro. In the first heat, the Brazilian, Deivid Silva and the Spaniard, Gonzalo Zubizarreta each grabbed an excellent wave judged at more than 9 points. Thanks to an even better second wave, the experienced Zubizarreta was on top by just 0.04 points (15.87 points as opposed to 15.83).
The second semi-final was launched immediately after that. Would the Australian, Luke Hynd continue to excel in what was his eighth heat in the event? His French opponent, Frederico Morais confirmed his very good form today by making the most of a wave with a score of 9.17 points. He continued with a second wave of 7.50 points. Hynd got a great total of 14.57 points; but that was not enough to reach the final.
Deivid Silva and Luke Hynd, joint third, each pocket 1680 points and 4500 dollars of prize money. A nice reward for a week’s work in the sunshine.
Gonzalo Zubizarreta v. Frederico Morais: The final Gonzalo Zubizarreta and Frederico Morais were respectively 89th and 160th in the QS before the Martinique Surf Pro, an event in which the winner gains 3000 points and the 2nd 2250 points. Whatever happened in the final, they both could consider this to be a successful operation, but winning was the most important thing. The surfers from Portugal and Spain had no intention of making do with being runner-up. Still in fine form, regular and surfing in style, Frederico Morais obtained two good scores (8.93 points and 7.73 points). In spite of two waves of more than 7 points, Zubizarreta lost out. So it is Frederico Morais,