All the Action from the Boardmasters Animal Pro Surf Competition 2022
The sun was shining in Fistral Beach, Newquay for the Animal Pro surfing competition last week! In case you missed our reporting on Facebook and Instagram, here’s all the highlights…
It was announced in April that the Boardmasters Open Animal Pro 2022 would be formal stop on the prestigious World Surf League’s (WSL) European Qualifying Series tour. This year, some of the world’s most talented surfers gathered in Newquay to battle it out for the top spot.
The Qualifying Series is a set of seven independent regional tours that determine which up-and-coming surfers qualify for the global Challenger Series. The most promising athletes from all seven regions, Africa, Asia, Australia/Oceania, Europe, Hawaii/Tahiti, North America, and South America, compete in local events to get just one step closer to qualifying for the Championship Tour.
Thomas Ledee, in the Animal Pro Competition
The Men’s Animal Pro Competition
The men’s heat started with 80 competitors, which then got knocked down to 64, and on to 32 before reaching the nerve-wracking quarterfinals. Impressive surfing meant we were seeing scores of 14.17 from Bitor Garitaonandia of Basque Country and 13.36 from Frenchman Thomas Ledee in the quarterfinals which made for great viewing.
As the competition progressed to the semi-finals the scores only got higher, with Marco Mignot from France scoring an incredible 16.00! The final consisted of Bitor Garitaonandia, Thomas Ledee, Marco Mignot and local Cornish surfer Jobe Harriss. It was a tough heat, with every competitor chasing waves and giving it everything they could, but it was French-Caribbean professional surfer Thomas Ledee who managed to swipe victory with a score of 10.33. This competition was his first ever Qualifying Series event which was even more special for him.
Winner: Thomas Ledee (France) | 10.33
2nd: Bitor Garitaonandia (Basque Country) | 8.76
3rd: Jobe Harriss (United Kingdom) | 7.34
4th: Marco Mignot (France) | 6.06
The Women’s Animal Pro Competition
The Women’s Pro started with 32 athletes competing to be named champion, before being cut down to 16 for the quarterfinals. Francisca Veselko from Portugal scored highly in her heat with a result of 13.26, sending her through to the semi-finals. As did Laura Coviella from the Canary Islands, who scored a tough-to-beat 13.23.
The semi-finals had more compatible waves, with Yolanda Hopkins of Portugal scoring 14.67, the highest score of the semis. Through to the final were Laura Coviella, Yolanda Hopkins, Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri and Ariane Ochoa, who are both from Basque Country. We saw some great surfing but it was Yolanda Hopkins that took the top spot with a final score of 11.40. With other strong performances in her portfolio such as a 5th place in the Women's Open in the Olympic Games in 2021, it was exciting to see Yolanda surf and the result has moved her up to current first place in the WSL Qualifying series.
Winner: Yolanda Hopkins (Portugal) | 11.40
2nd: Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri (Basque Country) | 8.33
3rd: Laura Coviella (Canary Islands) | 7.14
4th: Ariane Ochoa (Basque Country) | 6.94
The Junior Open
Animal surf ambassadors Alys Barton and Sam Hearn also competed in the Junior Open and both impressed the judges. Alys Barton took home first place in the U18 Girls group while Sam Hearn secured an impressive second place in the U18 Boys competition!
Alys Barton, in the Animal Pro Competition
It was a fantastic few days of surfing on the British coast, for extra content and interviews with the two Animal Pro winners visit our Instagram page here and select the Boardmasters 2022 highlights.
To read more about the WSL’s European Qualifying Series, check out the website here.