The waiting period felt very long before having the required conditions for the 2015 « GoPro Annaëlle Challenge presented by ISS ». Many times we’ve hoped to be able to launch the contest but the swell & winds never offered us the 2 days needed during small tides. So, we had to get back to our daily forecast checking, observing carefully every new weather map, and while the winter was coming closer, along with the end of the waiting period, the pressure was stronger on us. We already had to face the difficulties of organizing this kind of event, and we can only thank GoPro for their trust through the years, also ISS and all the other partners, as nothing would be possible without them. And after those 2 intense days, we can say it was worst it to face this long wait and hard work ![df-gallery url=”http://apbtour.com/gallery/2015-gopro-annaelle-challenge-presented-by-iss/”]
For this sixth edition of our famous bodyboarding contest, Specialty Event of the APB World Tour, the 16 competitors had to adapt themselves to an extreme context, close to the storm when we were isolated on our little island off North Finistère’s coasts : with winds, rain & cold… Annaëlle has to be earned, and the turbulent boat trip to accost on the island is a proof of it! But Annaëlle stay generous with us, bringing 2 days of big swell, offering us some heavy & radical waves. And even if the lineup was really challenging, each rider had the chance to show his skills & commitment during the contest.
Contest schedule is simple: 2 non-elimination rounds of 30mn length heats, with illimited number of waves, to have at the end the 4 best riders gathered on a 45mn Final to decide who will beat Jeremy Arnoux, double title holder, and have the chance to brandish the famous tomahawk trophy !
Who could be a better choice to launch the contest than our 2011 World Champ (and N°2 in 2015) Pierre-Louis Costes?! No one, and by looking at the way he has set the tone for the rest of the event, and has also sent a clear message to his rivals : he didn’t came from Puerto Rico for nothing, before going straight to Morocco and become another time European Champ (sorry PLC but we’ve stop counting your too many titles!!). He offers us his famous backflips for a total of 18,5 pts, which will be the highest score of the comp, leaving only few leftovers for the other riders of heat 1, including two the locals Yves-Marie Le Fourn & Laurent Jegoudez.
In the next heat, Jérémy Arnoux confirmed his total control on this wave and easily win heat 2 ahead of Mediterranean Geoff Vaquie, who will wins the Biggest wipe out Trophy while he discovers Annaëlle for the first time! Killian Quiroz will find the bomb of the day, unfortunately it was few minutes after the buzzer, and Erwan Genre never found his loved left waves he was waiting for!
Third heat was full of emotion, the Breton Nicolas « Chinook » Richard beats his 3 opponents (including last year’s finalist David Lefevre) with 2 good lefts! But just after that, he hurt himself, losing his board but getting back on the island safely under the close surveillance of the lifeguards.
Last heat of the day saw the bask Borja Gainzarain standing up as a serious candidate for the final despite the really good performance of young local Julien Le Sehan finishing second for only 0,5 pt ! Notice also the huge commitment of Derek Crater, only missing a second good score.
Once we were back on mainland, some had the occasion to enjoy few crêpes, take a nap or walk around the coast before the traditional dinner gathering everyone at the local pub O’Porsmeur. And like every year, some couldn’t resist to party late at night in spite of a early meeting the next day !
Laurent Begue form Reunion Island dominate the first heat of round 2 thanks to a bomb wave, offering him by the way the Heaviest Wave Trophy ! Borja Gainzarain confirm his good shape in second position for only 0,4 pt gap. And unfortunately for them, Erwan Genre & Laurent Jegoudez never found the good waves in this heat.
Second heat gave Jeremy Arnoux the chance to confirm his rank, finding the best waves and going big with aerial maneuvers, and with 2 victories he’s going easily in the Final. Yves- Marie Le Fourn’s two good waves won’t be enough to make the 2 pts gap between them.
They were only 2 riders remaining in heat 3 after the withdrawal for injury of Breton locals Chinook Richard (still in pain after his wipe out making him hit the rocks under water) & Irwin Cloarec, hurted badly at the ribs in a free surf just before the beginning of the comp. They let Julien having free rein to finish first ahead of Yann Mestelan, offering him his first ever Final here.
Last heat of the second round has been simply a riding showcase from Pierre-Louis Costes again, not disturbed at all for being the big favorite of the contest, he fund 3 bomb waves during this heat, and offered us a big show with a spin in the barrel and a « gainer flip » pretty crazy in those conditions. Killian Quiroz finishes at a solid second place with a nice roll & a small barrel.
We end up logically at a Final with by double winner of the AC Jérémy Arnoux and 2011 World Champ Pierre-Louis Costes. The two remaining spots were to be decided between 3 riders using their total scores and sadly for him, Laurent Bègue finished fifth of the event, letting bask country rider Borja Gainzarain and local Julien Le Sehan in the Final. Suspense won’t last long regarding the name of the winner … as Pierre-Louis Costes is fully dominating this Final, same way he did before ! He left almost no chance to his contenders, his activity in
the water, his waves selection were crucial, and even if it wasn’t really needed, he added few big backflips for a total score of 17 pts! Jeremy Arnoux found a second good scoring wave at 10 minutes before the end to obtain a deserved second place. Julien Le Sehan finishing third with 2 average scores ahead of Borja Gainzarain, missing only a second good wave to avoid finishing fourth, wave he will sadly never find after a good start with his nice backflip!
This wild 6th edition will stay for a long time in our heads, and we have to thank for this all our partners : GoPro, ISS, Surfing des Abers, O’Porsmeur, Expotent, Enviedesurfer.fr, BNVLVGL, Surfing Locquirec, Youriding, Surfing Iroise, Terre de Glisse, CAP Assurances, Algo’Manne, Hénaff, Ty Guechall restaurant, Bretagne, Finistère, CCPI and cities of Landunvez & Porspoder.
But this event is also so grateful to all the people involved in those difficult conditions : the boats pilotes (Tanguy, Guillaume, Hervé, Cyril, Stef, Mat), Jérôme and Mick our lifeguards on the island, the SNSM from Portsall, the jugdes, Yann & the young volunteers from Tomahawk BSC, photographers & videomakers, the NPI, TV crew from France 3 Iroise & Littoral TV show, all the medias covering the event online and a little wink to our trainee, sound was perfect ! A special mention for all the 16 competitors, alongside Alex Leon and all the APB crew ! And we wish the best recovery to Irwin, Chinook & Martin ! Take care guys !!
Each year we try our best to share the most of those 2 isolated days on our little island with this full report here, before the video clip of course! We hope we translate it right, it may be a kind of local tradition to have a bad English level… We’ll conclude with the words of our contest director, Gwen Renambot : “It was probably the most hardcore edition of the contest : with bad weather, difficulties to access to the island, tricky but massive waves, injuries … Can’t wait for next year with a more relaxing event !! On the sporting aspect, results are positive with victory of our world champ PLC, Jeremy Arnoux still so good at it, the young local Juju Le Sehan in fire, Borja being better every year and also the performance of the crazy young Breton rippers Chinook, Killian going big !!
Thanks everyone, and rendez-vous during 2016 Autumn ! Kenavo
1st – Pierre-Louis Costes 2nd – Jérémy Arnoux
3rd – Julien Le Séhan
4th – Borja Gainzarain
5th – Laurent Begue
6th – Yves Marie Le Fourn 7th – Yann Mestelan
8th – Killian Quirroz, 9th – Geoff Vaquie 10th – Derek Crater
11th – Chinook Richard (injured) 12th – Davo Le Fèvre
13th – Erwan Genre
14th – Laurent Jegoudez
15th – Sylvain Langlet
16th – Irwin Cloarec (injured)
« Heaviest Wave Trophy » by Nixon : Laurent Begue
« Biggest Wipe Out Trophy » by Surfing des Abers : Geoff Vaquie