Teresa Bonvalot and Miguel Blanco celebrate their wins at Caparica Primavera Surf Fest powered by O'Neill April 3, 2015
Image: WSL / Laurent Masurel
Praia de Caparica, Almada - Portugal (Friday, April 3, 2015)- Adding to the bliss of a beautiful spring day, Teresa Bonvalot, 15, and Miguel Blanco, 19, claimed their titles as Europe's best under-20 surfers at the inagural Caparica Primavera Surf Fest powered by O'Neill on Friday. The two teenagers from Portugal fought their way to victory in playful condtions as they conquered the competition and carved the 2-to-3 foot waves at Caparica.
After ripping through a couple of strong right-handers during his exciting final, Blanco secured the win with an aggressive performance. The 19 year old came out fighting at the start of the Final, but ultimately it was his second-to-last ride that earned him a score of 8.40 to beat his opponent, fellow 19-year-old Naxto Gonzalez, by only 0.26.
"The waves were super slow and we were lost out there," Blanco explained. "Naxto and I were even talking and laughing about it, but in the end it was such a rush with all those scores pending and I honestly thought I'd lost."
Finishing sixth on the 2014 European Junior Series, Blanco takes an early lead on the region's rankings this year with his win at Caparica.
"This was my third final, I'm so stoked I finally won one!" Blanco said. "I have a good rhythm going and am feeling very confident so I look forward to the next event here in Portugal again."
Blanco rips up this killer maneuver at Caparica April 3, 2015
Image: WSL / Laurent Masurel
Coming up short of a second Junior tour win, Gonzalez put up a strong fight, but his hesitation at the start of the heat was his ultimate downfall.
"I was looking for the best waves, but I think I got a little too patient," Gonzalez said. "I started to get nervous, this is the first time I'm in this situation. I surfed well and had a lot of fun in this contest, that's a very positive outcome."
Gonzalez sat without catching a wave until there were six minutes remaining in the heat. However, the Basque powerhouse took advantage of three back-to-back sets to try and claim back the lead. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, his efforts left him just 0.26 shy from beating Blanco. A crushing end to the event, but not a crushing blow to Gonzalez's postive attitude.
"It's hard physically when you're sitting on your board for twenty minutes, then have to go 200% for two or three waves in a row," Gonzalez continued. "The level in general was super high in this event so I'm very happy I could make the final and have fun doing so."
Even though the women's Final followed suit with Gonzalez's slow start, the competition between Bonvalot and 19-year-old Keshia Seelow-Eyre exploded with excitement as the two exchanged a series of strong performances.
After a combination of ferocious maneuvers on her backhand, Bonvalot earned a near perfect 9.80 and gained a serious advantage against Seelow-Eyre.
"When I saw that wave coming, I knew it was mine, and I concentrated on just surfing it well, didn't think of scores or the pressure of the situation," Bonvalot said. "It was a great wave and I'm super happy I was lucky enough to be in position."
Having to compete with the 15 year old's incredible ride, Seelow-Eyre just couldn't find the wave she needed to claim the top spot. She has no reason to be upset, though, because Seelow-Eyre's performance at Caparica was her career best and she integrated into the ranking's top spots for the very first time.
"I'm really happy, that was my first final ever on the Junior series," Seelow-Eyre said. "It's always good to get a good result in the first event cause then you loosen up a bit and tend to get better. I really want to qualify for the World Juniors, I was bummed to miss out last year on my homebreak, but hopefully I'll get there this time!"
As for Bonvalot, she takes an early lead this season and will have a target on her back going into Espinho Surf Destination Pro Junior in June.
"I feel great! This is my first win on the Junior series so I'm really happy," Bonvalot said. " The waves were good and it was really fun. All my family was here and I had a great support crew."
Both Bonvalot and Blanco brought their best to Caparica, and with the Junior series to reconvene in June, everyone expects big things from these Portuguese teens.
Check out the highlights at worldsurfleague.com
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST MEN'S FINAL RESULTS:
1- Miguel Blanco (PRT) 14.73
2- Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 14.47
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST WOMEN'S FINAL RESULTS:
1- Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 15.83
2- Keshia Seelow-Eyre (GBR) 11.00
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST MEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Miguel Blanco (PRT) 14.77 def. Lens Arancibia Avila (FRA) 11.20
SF 2: Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 16.60 def. Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 14.37
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST WOMEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Keshia Seelow-Eyre (GBR) 13.00 def. Kim Veteau (GLP) 8.50
SF 2: Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 13.83 def. Juliette Brice (FRA) 7.77
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST MEN'S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Lens Arancibia Avila (FRA) 12.43 def. Tomas Fernandes (PRT) 11.50
Heat 2: Miguel Blanco (PRT) 12.93 def. Charly Quivront (FRA) 9.67
Heat 3: Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 14.00 def. Gonzalo Gutierrez (ESP) 11.84
Heat 4: Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 10.57 vs. Jobe Harriss (GBR) 7.50
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST WOMEN'S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Kim Veteau (GLP) 12.17 def. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 8.97
QF 2: Keshia Seelow-Eyre (GBR) 10.64 def. Nina Reynal (FRA) 9.83
QF 3: Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 13.17 def. Ainara Aymat (EUK) 13.06
QF 4: Juliette Brice (FRA) 9.63 def. Carol Henrique (PRT) 7.83
CAPARICA PRIMAVERA SURFFEST WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kim Veteau (GLP) 12.67, Nina Reynal (FRA) 6.66, Mariana Assis (PRT) 5.20, Paula Fraga (ESP) 4.57
Heat 2: Keshia Seelow-Eyre (GBR) 14.16, Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 11.83, Camilla Kemp (PRT) 7.90, Yolanda Aneiros (ESP) 7.33
Heat 3: Ainara Aymat (EUK) 9.66, Carol Henrique (PRT) 9.50, Uhaina Joly (FRA) 9.13, Noive Ceballos (ESP) 3.50
Heat 4: Juliette Brice (FRA) 13.17, Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 10.50, Lisa Girardet (REU) 9.87, Emily Williams (GBR) 5.64