Team France Holds onto Commanding Lead Heading into Final Stretch of ISA World Surfing Games

Posted - News Posted for France News, ISA News, World Surfing News.

Men’s competition set for a run at the Gold Medal with increased swell on Saturday

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Team France has continued their impressive performance at the ISA World Surfing Games and after six days of competition has held onto their lead that was built by the Women’s Gold and Silver Medal performances of Pauline Ado and Johanne Defay earlier this week. France is the last team with all male surfers remaining in the competition.

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Jeremy Flores is received by his team and thousands of fans after his Round 2 heat win. Photo: ISA / Sean Evans

The men’s competition is set for an exciting showdown with a Quarterfinals on Saturday and with a finish on Sunday if the expected conditions holds true.

On the sixth day of competition at Grande Plage the international surfers were greeted by a new swell in the chest-high range, providing plenty of faces and ramps for the athletes to display their progressive surfing.

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Panama’s Oli Camarera takes the air at Grande Plage, however he was unable to advance out of Round 2 of the Main Event: Photo: ISA / Evans

Super star heats were on tap for Friday afternoon with talented match ups such as Joan Duru (FRA) against Leon Glatzer (GER) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) against Raoni Monteiro (BRA).

Duru got the better of Glatzer in the first of the stacked heats, topping off his first-place score of 14.84 with a smooth air reverse.

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Joan Duru helps France keep a commanding lead in the team rankings after passing through his Round 2 heat. Photo: ISA / Ben Reed

When Monteiro and Flores took the water, Flores jumped out to an early lead with solid backhand Surfing causing the local crowd to erupt in cheers. Monteiro saved his best two waves for last, marking an 8.5 and a 6.33 to surpass Flores and take first place. Both surfers will advance through to Round 3.

Raoni Monteiro expressed his emotion post-heat:

“That heat felt like I was already in the final! Jeremy Flores is a great surfer, we’ve competed a ton of times on the WSL Championship Tour.

“I am so stoked that I was invited to compete for Team Brazil after an unfortunate last-minute injury to Wiggolly Dantas. My team supporting me on the beach helped a lot, they told me to go to the right side of the beach where I found my best waves.”

The host nation France nearly suffered their first elimination if not for the last-minute heroics of Vincent Duvignac. Duvignac stood in third place as the final seconds of the heat were winding down, but he was able to find a wave with high scoring potential and marked the highest wave score of the heat with 8.7, moving him from third to first. Duvignac eliminated Germany’s Lenni Jensen and helped keep France atop the team rankings.

In the final heat of Round 2, the reigning and two-time ISA World Champion Leandro Usuna (ARG) was defeated by South Africa’s Shane Sykes and Spain’s Luiz Diaz in a tightly contested heat. With Usuna bowing out of the competition, the lone remaining Gold Medalist left in the event home is the country hero, Jeremy Flores, who won the ISA World Surfing Games in Costa Rica in 2009.

Round 3 kicked off with the first five heats before the extreme high tide caused the contest to be put on hold.

Team Portugal stood out in the first heats of Round 3, as Pedro Henrique scored the round’s highest heat score thus far with 14.43, followed closely behind by his teammate, Guilherme Fonseca’s 14.00.

When Round 3 resumed in the afternoon Team France had another close call as Dimitri Ouvre tied with Chile’s Nicolas Vargas’ heat total of 8.87. Ouvre’s higher single wave score of 5.50 gave him the nod into second place and left Vargas in third, eliminating him from the competition.

As part of a strategy to bring the sport of Surfing to new audiences and enhance the coverage of the ISA World Surfing Games, the ISA recently formed a partnership with the Olympic Channel to live stream the ISA World Surfing Games and collaborate on content. The Olympic Channel will live stream the final two days of the contest on May 27 and 28 to their fans around the world. Watch on www.olympichchannel.com.

ISA President Fernando Aguerre, said:

“The world’s best National Surfing teams have shown their pride, perseverance and camaraderie all week. Now we have arrived at the final stretch where the ISA World Champions will distance themselves from the rest of the field and make history as the first ISA Gold Medalists crowned in Biarritz since 1980.

“Don’t miss this historic moment and tune in to the live webcast!”

The schedule for Saturday’s competition is as follows*:

8:30am – 10:30am: 8 heats Men Main Event Round 3
10:30am – 12:30pm: 8 heats Men Main Event Round 4
12:30pm – 1:50pm: 4 heats Men Quarterfinals

*Schedule subject to change.

The schedule for the remainder of the event is as follows:

May 27-28 – Men’s Competition, Grande Plage
May 28 – Closing Ceremony, Grande Plage

Watch the event live May 20-28 on www.isaworlds.com.

About the International Surfing Association
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).