France's Juliette Brice have won the 2016 Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela today in building one-to-two foot surf.
Newly crowned European Junior Champion Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), 16, took on last year's champion Juliette Brice (FRA), 17, in an exciting matchup as the expected bump in swell finally started kicking in late this afternoon.
Tricky waves breaking out the back on the outgoing tide only offered limited opportunities and rewarded the surfer capable of linking maneuvers all the way into the shorebreak. At that game, Brice got off to a better start with a good 6.33 for a combination of turns on the outside and a nice forehand hack on the beach to wrap things up. Bonvalot got busy trying to find a similar long ride but couldn't compose as well with the "Huntington hop" kind of ride into the reform, ultimately leading to Brice's first event victory this season. Her result today sees Brice bumped up in fifth position on the regional rankings with one more event remaining before the season comes to a close.
Brice captures her first event win of 2016 - WSL / Laurent Masurel"I really needed that win, that season has been a bad one rankings wise but I'm super happy to finally win another event, it's going to go a long way into getting some confidence back," she admitted. "I was super stressed out, Teresa is such a great surfer I always knew she could get the score and I didn't rest until the final horn. I'm going to rest a little bit now, probably compete in a few QS events in France and head to Lanzarote hopefully in good form."
Despite having to settle for runner-up today, Bonvalot had previously secured her maiden European Junior Champion title in defeating her direct rival Ariane Ochoa (EUK), 18, in their quarterfinal matchup this morning. The young Portuguese has been on an absolute tear this season with three event wins, a third place and a second now in Sopela. Bonvalot will head to Lanzarote in November pressure-less and be able to fully prepare for the next big thing, the World Junior Championships in Australia early next year.
Bonvalot savors a title that could lead to many others. - WSL / Laurent Masurel"Last year I got second and I felt like it was my year because I had a great start to the season, but a couple bad results ended my chances," she reflected. "This year I'm super happy to finally win my first European title and to make it early enough that I don't have to battle at the very last event. It wasn't easy, a lot of the girls are surfing great and I had to work a lot to achieve this, so the feeling is even sweeter now."
Michael Bradley Photography