The 10th stop of the EuroTour took place in San Sebastian, Euskadi in June 1-2nd. On its fourth edition, Donosti has come to be one of the favorite events on tour, with arguably the best course that showcases all conditions. This year with record temperatures reaching a record 31 degrees Celsius, waves, currents and the perennial backwash from the cliff showed again that this race will never be flat.
Saturday, with beautiful sunny skies, the event started with the safety briefing for all competitors. This event saw the return of our premium livestream brought by the experienced Chris Parker a.k.a Bossman (Supracer) and New Zealand’s Trevor Tunnington. The duo continued the new format of split screen debuted two weeks ago in Santa Pola with great success. In Trevor’s opening words:
ALRIGHTY GUYS WE'RE HERE AT PLAYA DE LA CONCHA, we’re here for the San Sebastián race, it’s hot, there’s heaps of people on the beach watching and cheering, there’s some boats out there and maybe even a little bit of surf on the other side so stay tuned and see how we go
For the woman’s race, the dominance of Frenchwoman Olivia Piana saw her claim her 4th straight title, making her the only woman to ever win in Donosti. Summing the race in her own words:
So we start from the beach and Melanie did an amazing start because you know it was shallow that I tried to run on the sand but I think it was not a good option and Melanie start very very fast. And then we enter on the river with Susak. And then we arrived together with Susak on the surf and we surf the same wave. And then at the beach start I did a good start. And I got a good wave also on the second surf . I can’t believe that it’s my fourth time that I win this race!
The first half of the race Olivia was very closely followed by Catalonian Susak Molinero who kept and excellent pace but had a small hiccup on the wave section in La Zurriola and had to finally settle for 3rd. The biggest surprise of the event was the Canarian Esperanza Barreras (Starboard) who made a perfect line through the waves and held her own on the downwind section to finish a very impressive 2nd, nearly two minutes clear of Susak and earning her the biggest result of her carrier. Another minute behind Susak came USA’s Seychelle Webster (SIC), the ever smiling American loves the Basque country and while 4th place was a bitter sweet result for her, it was another solid finish for the Floridian. Japan’s Yuka Sato claimed another podium finish with 5th place and showed her versatility in all conditions. In a tight sprint to the line Frenchwomen Melanie Lafenetre beat Italian Caterina Stenta to finish 6th and 7th. It is worth mentioning that Melanie did a fantastic start where she gapped the entire field to the first buoy. Showing the depth of talent present UK's Ginnie Betts (SIC) out powered Peruvian talent Giannisa Vecco for the last two spots of the Top10.
The Men’s race was the closest in recent years with anyone on the Top5 having a real shot of winning, that was of course until New Caledonian Titouan Puyo (NSP/QB) asserted his authority and reclaimed his 2016 inaugural victory back . In his own words:
Yeah San Sebastián is always fun, it was not really windy this one but still had some waves, and some chop and some backwash. So it’s always moving, always interesting to paddle here in San Sebastián. I get a good line in the river, I chose to go left to have less current. I came back to the first pack. I was a bit lucky on the waves, I get some waves to come back to the beach. And yeah, after I managed to catch back up to the boys in front. It was four guys in front of me for the end of the race. And at the end maybe nobody wants to lead or I don’t know so they maybe slow down a little bit so I managed to catch them.
In one of the closest battles on tour this year Tahitian Enzo Bennett (425PRO) came closest to challenging Titou and came in a super strong 2nd place. This is the second time the Tahitian powerhouse has placed runner-up, and he is due for a victory very soon. In a sprint run to the line Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic) and the ever consistent Brazilian Vinnicius Martins finished 3rd and 4th reaffirming the good momentum from both competitors. Not far from the pace was Australian Ty Judson (NSP) in 5th who has been on the podium in every race he’s entered this season. In his best result on tour Peruvian Itzel Delgado (QB) on 6th narrowly edging out another very tight finish with Brazil’s Gui dos Reis (SIC) in 7th, Tom Auber (Fanatic) 8th, Ludovic Teulade 9th and Italian Paolo Marconi closing the Top10.
Sunday saw the Junior races take place with some great efforts by the youngest competitors that completed the Sunova Kids race on the Under10 and Under12 categories. The more experienced competitors took on the challenge to round the island of the beautiful Bahia de la Contxa, but with the treat of being escorted by the Pro athletes.
The award ceremony followed in the afternoon on the beach in front of installations of “Club Deportivo Fortuna”. A huge thanks to the entire team of volunteers for their dedication all weekend and specially Enrique and Fernando for their dedication and hospitality for this event.
Stay tuned as The EuroTour goes to Bilbao, Euskadi for the biggest Grand Slam of the year Iberdrola World SUP Challenge Tour stop#11 on the 8-9th of June.