Bonjour from France!!
So much has happened in the past week. I ended up making my first finals of the year in Portugal! Extremely stoked. The conditions were tricky at Guincho but I was really proud of the way I navigated the lineup and kept things simple. It's easy for me to get overwhelmed at a spot like that where so much is out of my control. Waves are coming in from every direction and conditions can change quickly. Halfway through the final, I found a decent score and needed a backup of three points with twelve minutes to go to get in the lead. I don't know where the time went but before I knew it the horn blew and it was over. Of course I was definitely a little bummed to be so close to a win and fall short but to be apart of and witness Nikki's maiden victory on the championship tour was super special.
Brandon Guilmette and I decided to road trip it to France right after the comp finished. In hindsight we probably should have just rested and drove the whole thing the following day but nine hours in a car sounded a bit intimidating to an island girl. We split the drive into two and spent the night in Salamanca, Spain. I wish we had more time there to explore the city but with only two days before the start of the next comp we needed to get a move on.
The drive was super mellow. Brandon was a champ and drove the whole thing. I got to sit shot gun and fade in and out of sleep. The only time we were both about to lose it was when we missed the last crucial exit and had to do a forty five minute detour! Haha. We eventually made it. Safe and sound. All good:)
Crisp, clean, 2-3 foot conditions on the first day of the waiting period allowed for the Roxy Pro to get underway. I was a little nervous with the quick turn around between events and not being able to spend much time warming up at the new spot. The positive is that the beach breaks in France are a little more organized and this year's contest bank on the day was pretty predictable and playful.
They ran through most of the comp the first two days. I had such a blast! The waves were super fun and Matt Biolos made me a new board that made riding those waves even more enjoyable. I knew I had one of the toughest draws of the event meeting up with six time World Champ Stephanie Gilmore in the first round. The past two years it seems like we keep drawing each other because of our rankings. I would much rather be on the opposite side from her and avoid a match up as long as possible. I look up to Steph in more ways than one. She's an incredible athlete, person and role model both in and out of the water and I have really enjoyed getting to know her better recently.
We met up for the third time in the quarter finals. We had a couple exchanges in the beginning and I found myself in a slight lead. For a good remainder of the heat we patiently waited for waves. Under three minutes, she got the wave and score she needed to take back the lead and I needed a mid seven to advance. With a minute to go and the universe on my side, a wave came out of no where. This was my last chance. I'm not going to lie I was nervous but I tried my best to let it all go, focus on the moment, giving it everything I had and surfing from my heart. When I finished the wave, I didn't know what I was going to get but I know I left it all on the table. Somehow I managed to get the score I needed and am into the semi finals!! It was an emotional finish. I was tearing up on the beach when I heard the result.
Currently I am enjoying a few days off with my best friends and my fiance. Went to the WaveGarden in Spain yesterday and stopped by San Sebastian on our way home. We found some fun waves and yummy chocolate croissants. I need to start watching the bread intake tho. Wedding bod might be in jeopardy otherwise. It's coming up so soon now! Just a little over two months and I'm going to be a wifey!!!
Pictures by Brandon Guilmette and Ryan Miller