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French Onslaught in Brazil and Malo Guenole has the Championship in his sights

Seven of the eight men in the upcoming quarter-finals hail from France (or New Caledonia in Titouan’s case) as Gollito makes a shock exit. Scroll down to to also read about the start to the women’s contest that happened late on day two

Rejoining the contest at the round three stage, every heat on day two was a battle to stay in the competition. Once again we had solid wind and waves that made for heats of high energy and entertainment.

The format was two waves and one freestyle trick counting towards a rider’s score, and in the moving ocean conditions, big back flips and front flips off the steep kickers were the big scoring freestyle moves.

Of course the younger chargers were ready to throw some huge frontside 720s into the mix, too, with Malo Guenole, Christopher MacDonald and Axel Gerard all on point in that department.

Wave riding proved to have the most bearing on results on day two though, and we saw some very progressive top to bottom riding in the faster, steeper sections. Hugo Marin, Kauli Seadi and Malo Guenole were standouts for their high paced but super fluid wave attacks in round three.

As we moved from the chunky morning waves with strong winds, through to smaller, mushier conditions and lighter winds in the afternoon, there was no shortage of thrills and spills in every heat.

The waves peaked in intensity midway through round three with the French Bouyer brothers on the water in heats one after the other. First, Julien threw himself into the steeper sections, mixing trick attempts at the lip that sometimes led to big wipeouts over the falls, before his brother Camille ripped some clean over-head walls to pieces. They went on to meet each other for the first time ever in a competition in round four, but sadly Julien’s damaged rear wing brought that mouthwatering contest to a premature end.

Julien: “First time we ride together in a heat, so we wanted to push super hard, but I pushed too far into the rocks and hit my foil.”

Camille: “It’s a shame for my brother. Usually we are a team, so it was a bit strange to be honest!”


Nerves were tested with several important moments in the men’s surf-freestyle championship throughout the day.

Reinforcing yesterday’s position as the event’s leading performer so far, Malo Guenole continued to raise the bar with his unbeatable combination of free flowing wave riding, massive flips and 720s.

Malo blasted through round three with the highest heat score of the day (23.93) against Luca Gasperini. Just before Malo’s round four heat against Hendrick Lopes, American title hopeful Christopher MacDonald had seen his own challenge evaporate after a close heat with F-One team mate Hugo Marin.

So it was all eyes onto Malo’s heat. If he lost, Gollito would already be World Champion. As the tour leader looked on from the beach, Malo came through a few wobbles on early waves to once again dominate the heat in both wave and freestyle performance, posting a heat score of 20.23 that was second only on the day to his own round three heat tally.

Malo: “Yeah I was under pressure because I broke a wing just before my heat, but I managed to get some good waves. I’ve been training here three weeks, my dad is pushing me and helping me a lot. I love the conditions and feel comfortable, so it’s easy for me to have fun here. I feel excited but am trying to stay calm and focused. Let’s go!”

But the biggest news of the day is that tour leader Gollito Estredo was then ejected from the competition at the end of round four.

Getting stuck on the inside against Clement Hamon didn’t help Gollito’s score as the French 14 year-old took advantage of the Venezuelan’s mistakes.

On the stream after the heat, a perplexed looking Hamon told Gemma Hamaini, “It’s my first time in round four, and I’m so happy to win this heat (and make the quarters). The wind was better for me because I’m light. The waves were there and I got some!”

Estredo must now sit on the sidelines and hope that Malo Guenole will not make it to first or second place in the event.

Should Malo only make it to third place, the title will still be Gollito’s.


Further highlight mentions from men’s round four was the very close heat between Maxime Chabloz (15.93) and Francesco Cappuzzo (14.57). A scrappy fight for waves was separated by a marginal difference between two excellent front flips off kickers, in Maxime’s favour.

But the most nail-biting heat, and perhaps most surprising result, given the predominant weighting towards wave riding, was the heat between Brazilian waterman and ex-windsurfing wave world champion Kauli Seadi, and French tour regular, Bastien Escofet.

Kauli had been first to take advantage with a good wave from left to right across the whole comp area early in the heat, before the two then traded good frontside waves. Six minutes to go in the ten minute heat and it was tight; 16.39 to 16.33 to the Brazilian.

Bastien spent four minutes caught on the inside and had to paddle out past the shore break. He finally made it out and, with 90 seconds to go, landed a fully committed front flip that earned him a 7.23. He slipped into the lead while Kauli was caught on the inside and this was the best example of how the single freestyle trick could be used to make a crucial difference when wave riding more or less otherwise dominated proceedings.


Looking more like a French national event… here is the quarter final line-up!

Titouan Galea (FRA) V Hugo Marin (FRA)
Clement Roseyro (FRA) V Malo Guenole (FRA)
Camille Bouyer (FRA) V Bastien Escofet (FRA)
Maxime Chabloz (CHE) V Clemont Hamon (FRA)

Two questions remain: What can Maxime do while attacked from the French on all sides?! And can Malo Guenole hold on, go all the way, and become World Champion?!


The day ended with the women finally getting on the water after a long wait to get through their round one heats.

Flora Artzner got the women off to a flying start with some beautifully fluid wave rides to achieve a commanding win. Nia Suardiaz then nailed the highest score of 19.07 in the following heat.

Bowien van der Linden also won before Paula Novotna – who is already World Champion – cruised through her heat to close out another amazing day of action here in Taiba.

The winners advanced to round three, while the second and third placed finishers will ride again in round two.

Women’s Round One Results:
R1 H1 Flora Artzner 16.63 / Kylie Belloeuvre 6.24 / Maddalena Spanu 6.03
R1 H2 Nia Suardiaz 19.07 / Lidiane Sanders 7.76 / Sofia Marchetti 6.60
R1 H3 Bowien van der Linden / Rocio Reigert / Orane Ceris
R1 H4 Paula Novotna 14.87 / Roberta Sullini 2.90 / Timma Flanagan –


Watch how the competition unfolds live on the stream which will begin again on Friday morning – find all you need on the event live page here. First possible start for the action is 10.00 (GMT -3)

Words: Jim Gaunt
Photos: Svetlana Romantsova
Video team: Julien Leleu and Diogo Cardoso
Video edits: Carlos Ortola

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