LES BOURDAINES, Seignosse – France (Saturday, June 2, 2012) ?Courtney Conlogue (USA) 19, has won the ASP 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France defeating Paige Hareb (NZL) 22, in 2-3Ft wind affected waves at Les Bourdaines, Seignosse, France. Perfect conditions greeted competitors this morning with a building swell and an offshore breeze allowing the event to start again after a lay-day yesterday. Quarter-finals of the Pro Junior opened today’s proceedings before moving to the main event and running it all the way to the crowning of Courtney Conlogue this afternoon.
Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 18, claimed the Swatch Girls Pro France Pro Junior title defeating Cannelle Bulard (REU) 18, in a one sided final that saw Buitendag in control throughout, despite Bulard fighting back in the final minutes.
Conlogue started off strong in the final with an 8.83 for a combination of two strong maneuvers on a running righthander and kept the lead throughout the clash, further consolidating her dominance with a 7.00 out of 10. Conlogue was the most in form surfer today scoring the only perfect 10 point ride of the event and kept building momentum until the final.
“The final went really well and conditions definitely got super tricky towards the end there,” said Conlogue. “I just tried to go on a few waves and stick to the wall it was a lot of trouble out there but I’m super stoked to have won. I was just really trying hard to do well in this event having done it for the last three years. I really wanted it and hopefully it’ll be a good boost for Biarritz.”
The young Californian, who is currently ranked 4th on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, has gained consistency this season and is looking strong for the 2012 back end of the year’s ASP World Title race. Number one surfer on the Swatch Pro Team, Conlogue already placed third in last year’s edition of the Swatch Girls Pro France and climbed up a couple spots to win today.
“It’s definitely really cool to win the Swatch event” commented Conlogue. “They did such a great job this whole week. I had so much fun at this contest this year it’s probably one of my favourite contests right now. Yesterday’s beach activities I think probably amped me up to kick butt today!”
Taking her surfing to a whole new level in 2012, Courtney Conlogue consistantly stepped up her performances this week in France to claim the Swatch Girls Pro France 2012 title in a fantastic fashion.
“I’m kind of simplifying things this year, I’m not trying to make it so complicated and then I’m riding Tim Stamps surfboards which have been working really well in the beachbreaks,” Continued Conlogue. “I’ve been working with him, figuring things out and what works best in those conditions. I want to be in the Top 3 on the World Tour, that’s my goal for this year!”
Paige Hareb, was the defeated finalist today, a second place result confirming her great form this year. The goofy-footer placed third this year in New Zealand at the third stop of the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour and is enjoying her strongest season at the elite level showing once again in France that she’s a strong competitor.
“I would have liked to have won off course but this has been my best result on the Star tour since pretty much five years ago when I first started so I’m pretty happy!” said Hareb. “I’m still pretty up-and-down, I’m still trying to be more consistent with the results but yeah I was happy with that result in my hometown and this one now so hopefully I can just try to keep the ball rolling!”
Hareb, sitting in 10th position on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour rankings, has been surfing extremely strong all week, eliminating Hawaiians Alana Blanchard and recent World Junior Champion Leila Hurst on her way to the final. Hareb found two good waves in the final and had a heat total that would have seen her win many other heats of the event, but just fell short against an unbeatable Conlogue.
“I’m just having fun and not really thinking about it too much and it just sort of happens” Hareb stated. “I love France. I got fifth here last year and now this result, plus I love the food and the people so I’ll be back for sure !”
Bianca Buitendag has won the Pro Junior division of the event, making it two from two since the beginning of the European season after her win earlier this year in Vendee. Buitendag ends her Swatch Girls Pro France campaign with a bang and is rewarded for her consistency this week.
“It was a long final of 25 minutes,” said Buitendag. “I got my two good scores in the first few minutes so I kind of relaxed a bit but I had to keep an eye on Cannelle during the whole final! She only needed a small score in the end so she could have got it easily.”
Buitendag had a difficult road to victory facing Leila Hurst (HAW) in the semis, and Johanne Defay (FRA) in the quarters but managed to always step it up and take a little advantage over her opponents. With the second best scoring wave of the event and some of the highest heat totals of the week, Buitendag proved once again to be one of the strongest Junior surfers in the World and will leave France satisfied with her performance.
“It took so long to get a visa I don’t know how long it’ll take to have the french passport but yeah I do love France, it’s been good to me so far! I plan on doing the full tour here in Europe and I’m also going to Peru soon for a Star event.”
In the final the last European standing Cannelle Bulard from Reunion Island stuck to her plan of selecting waves carefully despite difficult conditions brought by a strong onshore wind, and surfed a strong wave scored 6.60 but was unable to find a second high scoring wave for the remainder of the heat.
“When you’re in a final the goal is always to win so I’m a little disappointed of course” stated Bulard. “But I’m just starting to surf again so it’s really cool to get that second place here, and Bianca isn’t European so overall it’s a great result towards the regional rankings race and we’ll see how it goes at the next events.”
With this result, Bulard climbs up to the third rank on both the European Open and Junior rankings despite having had a difficult start this year due to an knee injury that made her miss the first events in 2012. Bulard has shone all week with her performance and her smile and seemed really relaxed and calm during the whole event.
“I’m not really into physical and preparation too much” Bulard admitted. “During events I know that if I’m too focused I get stressed out and it doesn’t work for me so I like to chat with my friends all the time. This time Jean-Seb Estienne was here really pushing me and with two coaches behind it felt good.”
With the summer leg of the European Tour coming up soon and international events as well, Bulard will try to take the confidence from this result and build momentum for the rest of the year. The 18 year-old continues to progress every season and becomes one of the favourite for the future of European surfing.
“Right now I’ve got to figure out my priorities because there are Star events and Pro Juniors at the same time so I want to sit down and think with my Dand my entourage about what to do. I’ve been injured and missed a few events already and I really don’t know what my plan is for this year.”
The Swatch Girls Pro France and Pro Junior are made possible with the support of the following event partners: SWATCH, iConcept, Groupe Slavi, Federation Française de Surf, Landes Côte Sud, Conseil Général des Landes, Région Aquitaine, Unbottle Yourself, Waxy Wax, SeventyOne Percent, Cafés Richard, N’PY, Piau-Engaly, MagicSeaWeed,Surf-Report, ViewSurf, Let’s Motiv, Lamono, MPORA, Cooler, NRJ, Surf Session, H Magazine, Adrénaline – L’Équipe.fr, Surf Europe amongst others.
SWATCH GIRLS PRO FRANCE FINAL RESULTS:
1- Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.83 2- Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.33
SWATCH GIRLS PRO FRANCE SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.50 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 13.40 Heat 2: Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.33 def. Leila Hurst (HAW) 9.06