Deep Insight featuring Andy Criere23 September 2020
Back to Lanzarote23 December 2020
Once I finished analyzing my performance in the Pantin contest, promising news awaited me. They called me from the World Surf League to announce that they were going to celebrate a European Cup (French Rendez-Vous of Surfing) of two events and I was on the list in Anglet. The beach that saw me grow up and has given me so many good moments.
Even so, my participation was not guaranteed within a week of the start of the championship since they selected the 12 best Europeans and internationals for the occasion. Anyway, I decided to train and do as if I were finally going to compete so I took advantage of each day to surf the peak of the competition and prepare in the best way.
Arrived the day before to contest we had an appointment to do the PCR test in Anglet. Before the appointment when I was on my way to surf I received a message from the WSL congratulating me on entering the competition since a surfer canceled due to an injury. What a joy to be able to compete at home with the bests!. Luckily, the test results were negative and the next day we would face off in the competition area.
The truth is that this was the first time in my career I would face several surfers of The World Surf League. First division of surfing reserved for the best 34 surfers in the world. So I knew I had to be my best version out there.
I have been surfing for many years at the Sables D´or beach in Anglet. For me it is one of the best options to surf near Hendaye and I know that it has many complicated and slower moments. My first heat was exactly like that, slow and inconsistent. I only found one score and ended up second behind Kanoa Igarashi and ahead of Joan Duru. In this competition format, the first qualify directly to the quarterfinals. Therefore the second and third have to go through the elimination round in which only the first one passes to the quarterfinals. In this heat, I had Ramzi, with a good local knowledge of this beach so It was going to be a big heat!
Luckily this round was much more alive in terms of opportunities and I got my pass to the quarterfinals with two solid scores. This occasion also helped me gain confidence and rhythm for the next round in which I would face Kanoa again in very technical conditions.
It was funny because this heat was commented by Leo Fioravanti and apparently he said it would be a good match up. Because Kanoa is a Huntington Beach specialist while I’m a Hendaye specialist. In both places the waves are similar. The start was difficult for both of us but quickly Kanoa placed himself with two scores. While I found a wave in which I was able to mark a strong turn.
At this stage, I knew that to get into the heat I needed a wave of two strong maneuvers and I looked for it until it arrived and indeed I was able to put two solid turns that were worth 7 points, my best score so far.
This situation left Kanoa needing a score that required a better wave and in the last 5 minutes of the heat, that wave did not come, ensuring my pass to the semi-finals. We shook hands and discussed how difficult the conditions were. Kanoa is an incredible surfer and I have surfed with him on several occasions in Portugal.
In the semi-finals, I would face the veteran of the World Tour League and one of my favorite surfers, Michel Bourez. Surfer well known for his very strong and technical surfing. My strategy was the same but I also focused on looking for higher quality opportunities to make a difference. I managed to find two good waves frontside and backside that gave me the pass to the grand final!
At this moment I was not aware of what was happening as it all went very fast. What I knew is that I was going to face the current surfing world champion, Italo Ferreira, at home and that was enough reason to give it my all. While approaching the heat I knew that Ítalo, an aerial specialist, would go with a strategy based on catching more waves and flying each time. So I opted to focus on good waves and big maneuvers.
Results in Frenc Rendez-Vous of Surfing The World Surf League
Early in the heat, I got a good score on a well surfed left hand. While Italo started to loosen up and find very good scores with his airs. I waited for a better wave that arrived in the middle of the heat and I could place a very strong first turn followed by a finish that I couldn’t complete looking for perfection. Still, the maneuver was rewarded with a 5.9p out of 10.
This wave would have put me back in the heat and need a very affordable score in the conditions we had. Then Italo, with very little time left, stepped up to control the peak and when the horn sounded to mark the end he was proclaimed the champion of the French Rendez-Vous of Surfing in Anglet.
It was a gift to share the final with him and although I wasn’t taking this one home, I learned a lot competing with him and with the confidence that everything was possible. In conclusion, Anglet once again gave me the opportunity to grow as a surfer and this time with the bests of our sport.