LES BOURDAINES, Seignosse – France (Thursday, May 31, 2012) ? The ASP 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France ran through another marathon day today in Seignosse, France. Conditions were ideal this morning with 2-3Ft glassy waves at Les Bourdaines, that allowed for the start of the fourth round in the women’s main event. Two rounds of competition were completed today as well as two rounds of the ASP 2-Star Swatch Girls Pro France Junior.
Sage Erickson (USA) 21, led the competition in her first heat this morning, posting a near perfect 9.65 and backing up with an excellent 8.75 out of 10. The talented natural footer, who is surfing at the Elite ASP World Championship Tour level this year, impressed everyone with a combination of radical maneuvers.
“It feels really good to get that first round out of the way, and you know getting second here last year there’s a little bit of pressure and I want to do one better this year and hopefully that heat helps me buid some momentum.” stated Erickson.
The young American was spotted in France practicing before the event and enjoyed a couple of pre-event sessions in excellent surf on the famous south-west France beachbreaks. She was very efficient at finding the best place to sit out there and managed to find the best waves with a high scoring potential.
“The conditions have changed so much, the first couple days I was here it was a bit bigger, but today there are still some fun contestable lefts” said Erickson. “I didn’t want to push the girls too deep but still wanted to be in position for those good ones and that one came up really nicely.”
Erickson stuck to the same equipment and praises the engineering of her small wave board. Powerful and demonstrating flawless transitions between manoeuvers, Sage Erickson will be one to watch in the next rounds when competition resumes.
“This is a really good small wave board, very light on the face of the wave,” commented Erickson. “It’s probably about an inch shorter than my normal board but it just feels good and loose. It’s the same I used here last year and hopefully it’ll help me get back on that podium again!”
Courtney Conlogue (USA) 20, currently ranked 4th on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, demonstrated the immensity of her talent this morning in the beautiful waves of Seignosse – Les bourdaines posting scores in the excellent range. She later confirmed this afternoon when she won her secod heat of the day in a bumpier ocean.
“It’s a little high tide so it kind of shifted down the waves on the dropping tide,” Conlogue said. “It got a little funky there and you can’t really know if you want to stay on that peak by the buoy or move back in front of the judges, but there are some good little waves for what the conditions are.”
Conlogue, who won her inaugural World Championship Tour event earlier this year in Sydney, is considered one of the fittest women surfers on tour and showed once again that explosiveness and consistency goes hand in hand with a strong physical condition.
“In these conditions you do actually need a lot of energy and stamina,” said Conlogue. “It’s also a matter of luck out there I guess but when you do get those waves you’ve got to be able to be light. When you weigh as much as I do, you’ve got to just feel like a feather or a little bird on top of the water you know, you don’t want to be sinking too much on your board!”
Pushing the barriers and confirming her great form today was Hawaiian up-and-comer Alessa Quizon (HAW) 18, who once again made the show worth watching in both heats she surfed. This morning Alissa Quizon was the first to take it to the air with an impeccable frontside-grab aerial to score a 6.75 on one manoeuver.
“I don’t really have a secret, I’m just trying to be consistent even though sometimes it’s hard to find the waves out there,” stated Quizon. “I just wanted to get through again. Everyone’s doing airs now especially the guys, but the girls too and for a girl to do an air it’s really sick and I’ve been practicing for awhile so why not try it!”
Despite conditions degrading a little this afternoon, Quizon was one of the few surfers who managed to stay consistent and score high in mushy 2-3Ft surf. After demonstrating her progressive skills frontside in the morning, Alessa Quizon found good waves on her backhand to show everyone she’s got it all.
“Earlier today it was harder I think because it was closing out a bit, but the rights there were really fun,” Quizon said. “Lately I’ve been practicing on both my forehand and backhand I really want to be consistent on both sides and not be that person that just can perform on one type of wave.”
Pauline Ado (FRA) 21, the local hero in and around Hossegor, entered the competition today and managed to get through her first two rounds to qualify for the Round of 12. Ado started strong this morning besting her friend Cannelle Bulard (REU) and posting a total heat score of 14.15 but later came very close to elimination in a close-fought battle against Sage Erickson, Kirby Wright (AUS) and Rosy Hodge (ZAF).
“I’m really happy to have survived this first day of competition,” stated Ado. “I had a good first heat this morning where I found some really nice waves. This second heat was a lot harder, it was more of a battle against my opponents and the conditions were really difficult.”
Ado, who had a difficult first few events on the World Championship Tour in 2012, just came back from Brazil with an excellent 5th place and feels boosted with motivation on her home grounds. Pauline Ado, on her second year at the elite level, admitted to missing the surf at home with the support of her family and friends.
“I’m already assured to have my best result here, so now my goal is obviously to go as far as possible and my dream is to get that podium and victory,” Ado said. “I had a Quarterfinal result in Brazil recently, so it did help a lot mentally and I hope it helps me here because I may need points from the Star events to re-qualify. I love surfing here you know, we spend most of the year abroad in places we’re not necessarily accustomed to and here I have all my friends and family who come support me, and even generally the public is super sweet with me, people always have a nice word to say and it’s definitely a plus!”
In the Pro Junior event, it was Leila Hurst (HAW) that confirmed her top form qualifying for the Quarterfinals. The young Hawaiian has been consistent in both the Pro Junior and main event and will be a favourite for the event win when competition resumes.
The 2012 Swatch Girls Pro France and Pro Junior will run from May 30 to June 3 in Hossegor / Seignosse, France. All results, photos, videos, news and LIVE webcast are available through www.swatchgirlspro.com
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 RD OF 24 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.25, Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.25, Kirby Wright (AUS) 9.00, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 7.25 Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.50, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 9.50, Johanne Defay (FRA) 9.45, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 9.25 Heat 3: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 15.20, Sarah Baum (ZAF) 12.15, Philippa Anderson (AUS) 11.55, Maud Le Car (FRA) 8.30 Heat 4: Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.35, Leila Hurst (HAW) 10.05, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.85, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 5.10 Heat 5: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.50, Suelen Naraisa (BRA) 7.05, Laura Macaulay (AUS) 5.05, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 4.90 Heat 6: Alana Blanchard (HAW) 9.85, Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 9.75, Nage Melamed (HAW) 9.25, Anali Gomez (PER) 4.20