The 7th stop of the EuroTour took place in Saint-Jean-de-Monts, France from May 11-12th. In its third edition, and the second one with the EuroTour, the 2019 edition was one to remember as the Downwind conditions that the area is well regarded for were in full display. The timing was perfect as the majority of the Internationals from all over the world were present.
On Friday evening competitors had the mandatory safety briefing on the Tourism center in town, were all the schedule and safety instructions were carefully reviewed. After that all the loading of the boards was also done ahead of time to ensure the smooth running of the event.
The next day the predicted came, and early in the morning competitors started to make their way to the event site. Logistics for this event were quite daunting and with a fantastic job by the local organizers. After all the boards were loaded in order of participation (critical for the launch in the ocean) the evening before, the vans left to load everything into the two cargo boats that will carry out the equipment to the water starting point. On another end two buses carried all the participants to the departing port, were all 8 speed boats were waiting to take them to the start line.
Once the boats reach the departing point, the real coordination began and one by one, all competitors were safely rejoined with their board on the flawless operation, that considering the rough seas was for sure the biggest challenge.
For the first time in EuroTour’s history the first Foil Downwind took place and it was a two horse race from the start with local favorite like Eric Terrien (BIC) from France and New Caledonian Titouan Galea.
The woman’s race was the biggest field this year, and last week’s winner Fiona Wilde (Starboard) continued her perfect form and did a flawless race to win and finish close to the Top10 of the men’s in the process.
The American was ecstatic on her finish line interview:
I went out fast, it was a little bit hard to keep holding that pace so I had to back off and settle in a bit more. But yeah overall I’m happy! The womens field is super strong! I feel like every event you know it keeps getting stronger but especially with downwinding, the field was stacked! I feel really happy with the way that I paddled, the way I surfed and read the bumps. Thank you so much to the other girls for you know pushing me hard and making me nervous.
In second place the ever-impressive FrenchWoman Amandine Chazot (Sunova/QB) had an epic race to finish well in front one of the best all-rounded waterwoman of the sport at the moment Hawaian Annie Reickert (NSP) in third place. A couple of minutes adrift came Olivia Piana from France, the EuroTour champion has some stiff competition this year. The ever smiling Japanese Yuka Sato (Sunova) came in a solid 5th place. Italian windsurfer Caterina Stenta followed proving that her training is paying off this year. FrenchWoman Fanny Tessier (425PRO) came close in 7th at home in the conditions. Last week’s challenger Susak Molinero from Spain defeated Petronella Van Malsen from The Netherlands to finish 8th & 9th respectively. Closing out the Top 10 was Germany’s Noelani Sach (NSP) for a very stacked field.
In the Men’s race New Caledonian Titouan Puyo (NSP) wanted to make it three out of three wins in this event, and put on a clinic. A very satisfied T2 was all smiles at the finish line interview:
Today I was on the small boat so I managed to get my board, jump onto my board, I was dry, I was happy and I fall two minutes after. The beginning was a bit messy but interesting, you have to take the swell take the wind bumps, you have to manage between those two.
I managed to stay with Boothy and Arthur. I was like let’s wait to see the gate before I start pushing myself a lot. The end of the race was more like just wind bumps, more like New Caledonia for example. Easy bumps, easy to read and so yeah it got better at the end for sure.
Yeah, it’s my third time here for the Vendée Gliss Event, third win. So I’m still happy to finish first on this beach, the event is great, they are getting better and better each year and what they organised this year was big and maybe a lot of work so yeah I’m still happy to come here and happy to get first place.
Chasing Titou and very closely in the first part of the race was French super star Arthur Arutkin (Fanatic/QB). Arthur is always one of the biggest threats when the going gets tough, and the first half of the race was exactly that, big seas with big bumps if you were good enough to catch them.
On 3rd place it was Australian powerhouse Michael Booth (Starboard) that showed that he’s more than capable in the bumps by staying very close to the pace. The ever consistent Ty Judson (NSP) from Australia is clearly not stepping off the podium this year and finished a close 4th. In possibly one his best results to date France’s Boris Jinvresse (Sunova/QB) finished 5th in the prize money and defeating Tahitian star Enzo Bennett (425PRO) for 6th place. 7th place on the podium was for Azur Paddle Days organizer Martin Letourneur, we are not sure how he managed that without much training but hats off to him for sure. Hungary’s biggest star Bruno Hasulyo (Lightcorp) came in 8th, ahead a static Giordano Capparella (SIC) in 9th place and the first classified Italian. Closing the Top 10 was the also ever consistent Joseph Gueguen (SIC).
In the afternoon saw a nice closing ceremony with the Major of Saint-Jean-de-Monts, followed with a reception. We really want to thank Philippe, Xavier and the entire team of Vendee Glisse for carrying out the biggest logistic feat on tour to date and running a flawless event; we couldn’t be prouder to have them on tour.
On Sunday, we were woken to a fantastic day that saw the open racing and also the Tahitian inspired Waterman Challenge. But perhaps the best iniciative was always environment conscious Susak Molinero that formed a human chain for the “Clean Planet” something we should all care more for.
Stay tuned as The EuroTour goes to Alicante, for the 4th Grand Slam of the season: World SUP Festival Costa Blanca at stop#8 on the 18-19th of May.