SWATCH GIRLS PRO France 2011 event was officially launched this Wednesday morning with 72 surfers meeting at the beachbreak of Les Bourdaines.
The first heats were in the water as early as 7.30am to benefit from the best wave conditions forecast today. The surfers were greeted with 4ft swell and strong currents, tough conditions for the start of Round 1, which translated in rather low scores all through the heats.
As the heats ran into one another, the conditions got even tougher, yet French surfers Marie Dejean and Maud Le Car stood out in the competition, winning their heats with respectively 8,75 points and 9,50 points, qualifying directly for Round 2.
19-year old Maud Le Car recalls: "I'm very pleased to go through this heat because it was really hard, there was so much current that I kept being dragged away from the area where the waves were breaking. It turned out to be physically challenging to find good waves".
Portugese Keshia Seelow Eyre, 15 and one of the youngest of the event, won her heat ahead of American Kaleigh Gilchrist with a great combination of cutbacks. 23-year old Basque Lore Elzaguirre also won her heat, having found great wave opportunities. "It was a hard heat with tough conditions, and strong currents You had to select the right waves and I was aware of this early in the heat when I took my first wave. There is no room for mistakes here since you already loose a great amount of time paddling already. I was only able to train here yesterday, but not this morning. I could see there was a lot of current and it looked hard. So I'm pretty pleased with what I've done in this heat".
Initially scheduled at 12.30pm then at 3pm, Round 2 was eventually postponed as the wind grew stronger with the tide. The SWATCH GIRLS PRO France was called off for the day.
There is much at stake for all surfers as the SWATCH GIRLS PRO France will be a turning point in the season to either maintain a position or qualify on the 2012 World Tour. In the Juniors event, the SWATCH GIRLS PRO France will offer the opportunity to the winner to qualify for the ASP World Junior Series event to be staged in Bali, Indonesia, on October 3rd and claim European title.
Heat 1: Paige Hareb (NZL), Georgia Fish (AUS), Lore Eizaguirre (EUK), Kaleigh Gilchrist (USA)
Heat 2: Laurina McGrath (AUS), Wini Paul (NZL), Keshia Seelow Eyre (PRT), Tanika Hoffman (ZAF)
Heat 3: Sarah Mason (NZL), Carina Duarte (PRT), Rosa Thompson (NZL), Barbara Segatto (BRA)
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Brittani Nicholl (AUS), Marie Dejean (FRA), Wes Noble (GBR)
Heat 5: Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Valeria Sole (PER), Maria Abecasis (PRT), Estitxu Estremo (ESP)
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW), Faye Zoetmulder (ZAF), Maud Le Car (FRA), Meah Collins (USA)
Swatch Girls Pro France Round One Results
Heat 1: Lore Eizaguirre (EUK) 4.60, Tanika Hoffman (ZAF) 4.20, Anali Gomez (PER) 3.75
Heat 2: Keshia Seelow Eyre (PRT) 5.25, Kaleigh Gilchrist (USA) 3.75, Maria Ortiz (ESP) 2.75, Shelby Detmers (USA) ns
Heat 3: Rosa Thompson (NZL) 1.70, Wes Noble (GBR) 0.65, Garazi Sanchez (EUK) ns
Heat 4: Marie Dejean (FRA) 8.75, Barbara Segatto (BRA) 8.25, Joanne Dennison (GBR) 5.75, Libier Emilie (FRA) 4.40
Heat 5: Maria Abecasis (PRT) 8.75, Meah Collins (USA) 3.75, Raine Jackson (GBR) 2.45
Heat 6: Maud Le Car (FRA) 9.50, Estitxu Estremo (ESP) 7.75, Nao Omura (JPN) 7.25, Amy Stewart (AUS) 5.60
Watch it all live here: www.swatchgirlspro.com