Day 2 of EuroSUP 2017 began today with the first race divisions being held under blue skies and great conditions and by the days end European champions would be crowned in  both the men and womens technical race divisions. The race would start and finish at Molho Leste; the north end of the beach at Supertubos, the course would then take a tricky route around the bay, made especially more technical due to the thumping shorebreak that would ultimately end up taking its toll on numerous competitors.

The women went first and it was Frenchwoman Olivia Piana who took home the gold medal with a dominate performance over Laura Quetglass (SPN). Piana led from the start and never looked likely to finish anywhere other than first, always increasing her lead throughout the race. Nicoline Rasmussen finished third. 

The mens division was much, much closer. Ultimately it would be Denmark’s Casper Steinfath at the top of the podium after an incredibly close race with Arthur Arutkin (FRA). Both competitors were neck and neck throughout and traded the lead on numerous occasions but it was Steinfath who took the line required to hold the lead around the last marker buoy that allowed him to hold Arutkin off until the finish line. Steinfath now has the European crown to go with his three world titles; a legend of European watersports. Frenchman Titouan Puyo was third and Italian Leonard Nika fourth. 

 

The surf competition continued after the technical races were held back at Supertubos in conditions similar to the opening day. Pierre Roullet (FRA) was the standout of the day racking up some huge scores for an impressive display of powerful and technical surfing in round 2 of the mens division. Compatriot Justine Dupont was also outstanding in the first round of the womens, taking the win in her heat and amassing the highest heat total of the day for the women. Her surfing looked every bit as sharp and critical as the mens and the Frenchwoman may have just announced herself as the person to beat. 

 

Competition will resume tomorrow afternoon at Supertubes. 

 

The 2017 ISA World Games took place last week in the French surfing mecca of Biarritz, held in what could pretty much be described as typical French beachbreak conditions; ever changing with the tides and swell but yet some of the most undeniably fun surf the planet has to offer. Plus the backdrop is undeniably one of the most scenic you could hope for. Biarritz delivered. 

 

At the events culmination it was Mexican Jhony Corzo who took the honours in the mens division and Pauline Ado from France the womens. The event was a major benchmark from a European perspective, with the French team dominating to take home the gold medal, Portugal claiming the silver and Spain the bronze. And that wasn’t the only sign of European ascendancy. Johanne Defay was a close second to compatriot Ado in the womens final to conclude a French domination of the division, and in the mens final Corzo was the only surfer not from Europe. WCT rookie Joan Duru finished in second place, Pedro Henrique (POR) third and Jonathan Gonzalez (ESP) finished in fourth. In fact, come the semi final stage it seemed you could have picked any of the European surfers to take the crown. Only two surfers from countries outside the jurisdiction of the European Surfing Federation were still in the hat at this point, Jordy Collins (USA) and the event winner Corzo. Yassime Ramdani placed an outstanding fifth for Morocco and Spain’s Vicente Romero also came agonisingly close to making the final. Jeremy Flores (FRA), Europe’s most successful on the world stage (Pipeline and Teahupoo CT victories etc), was also knocked out at the semi final stage which highlights the standard of surfing on display and the fact that the Euro surfers were leading the charge. 

 

It should come as no surprise that there was a European on-two-three in the overall positions. The work has been going on behind the scenes for years and it was only a matter of time before the rewards would be seen. France now hold both the ISA senior and junior titles and Portugal have now held the silver medal in the last two ISA games. Spain have a ridiculous amount of talent coming through and an impeccable team supporting them so the fact they rounded out the podium positions should come as no surprise to anyone. 

 

It’s been written before on this website and to a certain extent this is now repetition, but the ascendancy of European surfing is now in full swing. With the Tokyo Olympics round the corner the timing couldn’t be better and with the team structures in place across the continent I don’t think it would be out of the question that we’ll see a European surfer with a medal when 2020 comes around. 

 

 

You’ve had quite an eventful year. How has it gone for you?

It’s been super hectic year for sure! Competitively....I couldn’t have had a better one winning the holy trinity (English, British and European Junior Champion)! It’s been sick to really try out a wide range of boards that are coming out from my shaper Skindog too. I definitely haven’t been bored in the water, put it that way!

How was Morocco for you? Other than the obvious....

Morocco was a hell of an experience! It was an honour to captain such a talented bunch of junior surfers from my country. I hadn’t properly met the crew before....I’d only seen them at a couple of contests what with the shortboarders and longboarders being separated... Waves wise, our trip started very slow but thankfully as the competition period lurked the waves switched on and I can’t recall scoring better waves for a contest. Was also nice to finally go to Morocco and surf something other than a beach because previously we got skunked for waves! We scored Anchors and Killers in the final few days of our trip which was incredible.

You cruised the earlier rounds of the competition, how were the nerves when Joao Gama dropped those high scores early in the final?

It was a super strange feeling. Knowing that you’ve got what it takes to top your rival’s scores, whilst also scared that the waves might not come your way! However the waves were pumping so I was just focussed on getting priority and hoping to get a long playful wall to deal with, and thankfully my patience played dividends. A 30 minute final and priority system definitely helped with the nerves though!

Longboarding has been by far the most successful division for English and Welsh surfers over the last decade, with Ben Skinner, Elliot Dudley and Sam Bleakley all taking wins at some point. Why do you think that is? Who influences you on the UK scene?

I think it comes down to 2 things. Firstly, the waves we get in the UK are often better suited to longboarding in my opinion. There are a lot more spots in this country that are better suited to riding a longboard rather than a shortboard. And secondly, the amount of shortboard talent coming out of other countries in Europe (France, Portugal, etc) is increasing rapidly, and that’s down to the waves they get, and also the financial support which then contributes to travelling and training. This makes it stiff competition for the UK shortboarders to compete against because we don’t get the same kind of backing as other European nations do. However with longboarding it is much more of an open playing field. The English guys who influence me are Skinner and James Parry, for the fact that they both shred and how they’ve shown the world how well a surfer from the UK can actually surf!

What do you think it’ll take for you to break the monopoly that the Delpero brothers and Ben Skinner have had over the open longboard divisions over the last few years?

Think maybe bringing something new to the scene, new moves, new tricks, that sort of thing. Also with rumours of a potential change of criteria that may be happening next year it opens up a whole new realm to approaching a wave on a longboard that is hidden from competitive surfing.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? Are you planning on getting around Europe to do the contests there?

Now I’m at Plymouth University, who have been really supportive, I have a lot more time to get around Europe and do the comps, so I’m going to take a shot at the WSL events this season and make a run for the WLT in China at the end of the year. My aim is to give it all a go riding a single fin, and me and my shaper Ben Skinner are working on something that could be the board of the future, so watch this space...

Who are you surfing and traveling with at the moment?

At home I’m just surfing with the normal lot - my dad, mates and a few of the local lot. I’m hoping to do the European leg with fellow Skindog rider Joe Hornbuckle, so will be sick to do the circuit with the tour with a teammate.

And finally who’s supporting you this year? You’ve got a free platform to give your sponsors a shout out.

I have had massive support from Skindog Surfboards, Gul Wetsuits and Plymouth University, and I definitely wouldn’t of made it to where I am today without these lot...

Thanks for your time Jack.

Cheers boys yewwww

With 2013 now well and truly behind us the WSF is looking forward to our most exciting year ever! 2014 promises to be something special as the WSF takes to the World Stage for the first time in its 40 year history

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