Mathis Crozon (FRA) and Melania Suarez Diaz (ESP) have just claimed the latest edition of the Junior Pro Espinho.
The duo made their way to the podium of Stop No. 1 on the World Surf League (WSL) European Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) after nearly a week of competition in waves that ran the entire spectrum of surf conditions at Praia de Baia – from glassy and hollow to confused and menacing and everything in between.
Advancing from the early rounds Mathis Crozon defeated Kauli Vaast (PYF) in the final after working through the heats, surfing with a mixture of raw power, cold competitive strategy and nerves.
“I was so stressed before the heat, because it was my first final since I’ve been doing the pro junior events,” said Crozon.
“You had to be focused out there and just take the good ones, and when I got the nine, I couldn’t hear if it was a nine. I didn’t hear anything. But when I got out of the water and my friend came up with my sponsor’s hat I knew I’d won.”
On Crozon’s first wave of the heat, a lengthy right, the goofyfooter launched into a series of backside hacks drawing an 8.93 from the judges. Vaast countered with a similar wave for 8.27 then took the lead after a single-move wave to earn a 7.17. But it was Crozon’s CT-level turns on the last right that sealed the deal for the young Frenchman and earned him a 9.17.
To get the final today Crozon had to dispose of an in-form Justin Becret (FRA) in the semis and Edoardo Papa (ITA) in the quarters.
Justin Becret kicked off their semifinal with an 8.00 as Crozon snagged an 8.67 near the end. With one minute to go Becret launched a heavy re-entry, snapping his board upon landing – and all hope of a heat-winning wave.
The other semifinal was a tense back-and-fourth as well with Lenni Jensen (DEU) exchanging the lead position with Kauli Vaast several times before Vaast took a wave under the two minute mark for the win.
A last-chance wave came through for Jensen to take the win, but he got tangled up with the lip.
“I started the heat with a little 5 then it got a little slow and I got nervous so I caught a lot of waves which wasn’t a good option because they were low-scoring waves,” said Jensen. “Then on the last one, it was a very good wave, but I got hung up and went over the falls.”
Jensen had come up strong through the quarterfinal disposing of wondergrom Adur Amatriain (ESP) while Kauli Vaast took care of Tiago Carrique (FRA) in the other quarter with a heat score of 15.33 to 4.33.
Defending event champion Marco Mignot (FRA) went down to Justin Becret who looked right at home in the wind-affected peaks while Crozon took out Edoardo Papa (ITA)
The Women’s winner Melania Suarez Diaz surfed smart all day long applying a keen strategy to the varying conditions.
The 30-minute final started off slow with scores under two points until Suarez Diaz landed a 6.17 on a set from out the back. The two goofyfooters exchanged nominal scores until Diaz landed a 5.17 to cement her win.
“I did well, even though the conditions were hard because of the wind,” said Suarez Diaz. “It was pretty hard. I didn’t know I’d won until I got to the beach because you can’t hear anything with the wind. I only found out I’d won once I got to the beach!”
Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) ran hot through the entire event earning several of the highest single wave scores in both the quarters and semis.
“I just took two waves and then it took me 10 minutes to paddle back out,” said Erostarbe of her semifinal heat. “I knew the other girl just needed a four so I was super stressed but then in the last three minutes I got that wave and the 4.83.”
The best surf during the Junior Pro Espinho dawned this morning for the round of 16 men. Light offshores and hollow, overhead waves greeted competitors, many of whom reveled in the conditions, throwing out high scores.
“It was so fun out there early because it was offshore and the waves were just so good,” said Vaast. “The direction of the swell is perfect. It’s better today because the swell is cleaner and the first day of competition was really shifty and hard to be in the right place.”
Today concluded the second of two events that comprise the Espinho leg, the first was the Longboard Pro Espinho which challenged Europe’s best longboarders in sizable surf and crowned Edouard Delpero (FRA) and Justine Dupont (FRA) champions.
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Mathis Crozon (FRA) 18.10
2. Kauli Vaast (PYF) 15.44
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS
1. Melania Suarez Diaz (ESP) 11.40
2. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 5.67
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS
Heat 1: Kauli Vaast (PYF) 13.00 def. Lenni Jensen (DEU) 9.37
Heat 2: Mathis Crozon (FRA) 14.17 def. Justin Becret (FRA) 11.57
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS
Heat 1: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 10.83, def. Anat Lelior (ISR) 4.66
Heat 2: Melania Suarez Diaz (ESP) 7.50 def. Juliette Lacome (FRA) 6.53
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Heat 1: Lenni Jensen (DEU) 12.84 def. Adur Amatriain (ESP) 8.30
Heat 2: Kauli Vaast (PYF) 15.33 def. Tiago Carrique (FRA) 4.30
Heat 3: Mathis Crozon (FRA) 11.73 def. Edoardo Papa (ITA) 7.27
Heat 4: Justin Becret (FRA) 13.83 def. Marco MIgnot (FRA) 10.00
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Heat 1: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 11.50 def. Mafalda Lopes (PRT) 5.16
Heat 2: Anat Lelior (ISR) 5.83 def. Lucia Machado (CNY) 3.46
Heat 3: Melania Suarez Diaz (ESP) 4.77 def. Laura De Los Reyes (CNY) 3.23
Heat 4: Juliette Lacome (FRA) 6.26 def. Maelys Jouault (FRA) 6.14
JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S ROUND 5 RESULTS
Heat 1: Lenni Jensen (DEU) 14.67, Tiago Carrique (FRA) 8.93, Gaizka Housset Ezponda (FRA) 7.23, Mario Rasines (ESP) 3.60
Heat 2: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 13.83, Adur Amatriain (EUK) 9.23, Maxime Dos Anjos (FRA) 5.14, Thibault Manson (FRA) 4.40
Heat 3: Mathis Crozon (FRA) 12.57, Marco Mignot (FRA) 12.37, Renan Grainville (FRA) 11.00, Titouan Canevet (FRA) 5.50
Heat 4: Justin Becret (FRA) 12.50, Edoardo Papa (ITA) 10.23, Salvador Couto (PRT) 6.37, Iker Amatriain (ESP) 3.83