CAPBRETON, France (Friday, August 23, 2013) - Day 3 of the Swatch Girls Pro France resumed the round of 24 of the main event to decide of the last 12 surfers in contention for the prestigious Swatch crown. Action then went back to the Junior side and completed the first three rounds to determine the event’s Quarterfinalists while Weather cleared out throughout the day to end in cleaner 2-3Ft surf in Le Penon.
Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 18, current No.9 on the ASP Women’s World Rankings, continued her impressive run in the Swatch Girls Pro France Junior today, powering her way through two rounds to qualify for the Quarterfinals. After suffering a shock elimination from the main event yesterday committing two interferences, the young Australian bounced back to show it hadn’t weakened her motivation.
“Yesterday was really tough for me, it’s one of those things I had never heard of before,” Van Dijk said. “Well it’s happened, I’m moving on and learning from my mistakes, today I wanted to come and show everyone that it’s not what I’m about, I’m here to surf and I really want to win! I feel like it’s like a beach near where I live, it kind of reforms and is super fun, there are some bowly ones. I’m trying to do what I can and mixing it up and it’s working out well. The girls are stepping it up here in Europe, I had a heat with Cannelle and I love watching Johanne as well, they’re ripping!”
Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 19, who placed fifth in last year’s edition of the Swatch Girls Pro Junior, will have a shot at improving on last year’s result when competition resumes tomorrow and she’s up against her compatriot Eden Putland (AUS) in the quarters.
“It’s really turned on for us this afternoon, I was really happy to be out there!” Macaulay said. “I’m just trying to get through heats and do my best. I haven’t had great results on the Star events so far, so this is good. I was a little bummed with my run in the main event here but today it seemed like I had more confidence. I just want to get better at each event, it feels like I’m still learning a lot and I know I have many areas to improve on so that’s good.”
Johanne Defay (FRA) 20, got through all her heats surfed today both in the 6-Star and Pro Junior divisions. Our current leader of the European rankings and defending regional champion demonstrated her usual power turns in the fun surf this afternoon. With only one other European, Cannelle Bulard (REU), left in the Junior draw, the road ahead for Defay narrows towards consolidating her supremacy in the under-20 category.
“I’m happy, I didn’t think I’d get to surf good waves like that right,” Defay commented. “It was a tough heat with Georgia and Tessa, we’ve been here all day from 7am so we’re all a little tired, but it makes the satisfaction of winning even greater. All those international girls ripping, it’s really motivating and everyone’s stepped up their level and we’re more confident now that we’re starting to get used to surfing against all of them.”
The last heat today saw Hawaiian Nage Melamed 19, advance into the quarters ahead of Australia’s Keely Andrew in a disputed battle for first place. Melamed admitted to have enjoyed the conditions and found the serenity needed to perform to her best level in France.
“Waves have been pretty fun in and out all day, the tide’s a little tricky but I’m stoked to have waves!” Melamed said. “This is my fourth time here and I love France, it’s really easy-going and the beaches are beautiful, I almost feel at home here and I’m just relaxed. I lost out in the 6-Star yesterday so I just want to keep going in the Junior, this is my last time under-20 so hopefully I can go all the way!”
Three heats of the ASP 6-Star Swatch Girls Pro France were completed today, with the surprise eliminations of current Top 17 members Coco Ho (HAW) and Silvana Lima (BRA) while four Europeans are still in the run for the event win in the names of: Justine Dupont (FRA), Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK), Alizé Arnaud (FRA) and Johanne Defay (FRA).
Surfers and organizers will reconvene at 8:30am tomorrow Saturday morning, to decide of the day’s schedule subject to conditions.
The SWATCH GIRLS PRO FRANCE and Pro Junior are made possible with the support of the following event partners: SWATCH, Landes Côte Sud, Conseil Général des Landes, Région Aquitaine, Unbottle Yourself, EQ, Honda, Makila Auto, MagicSeaWeed, Lamono, NRJ, Surf Session, Adrénaline – L’Équipe.fr, Beach Brother amongst others.