In a big day for British surfing, Ellie Turner and Ben Skinner have each achieved significant results at the Caparica Surf Fest.
The most solid waves of the competition window greeted competitors as the sun rose this morning on the Caparica coastline, which sits just to the south of Lisbon, across the Tagus estuary,
Despite a high number of entries across six categories, only two Brits remained in the running; fifteen year old Ellie Turner from Bude and British longboard veteran Ben Skinner.
Ben kicked off proceedings in the longboard division, with dominant performances throughout the morning heats.
The swell was peaking as competitors entered the water for the final, with head high, high tide rights, combed by onshore winds, wedging off the rocky groyne which has served as the centre for this years competition.
Frenchman Antoine Delpero nailed his colours to the mast the moment the hooter sounded, swinging deep on a long walling right and linking a series of turns and critical nose rides to secure a 9.87.
Skinner hit back with two high sevens, earned through a combination of nose rides, classically inspired cutties and convincingly man handled closeout sections, leaving third and fourth place in combo land.
Delpero followed with a solid back up and Ben was left searching for 8.94, seeing him into the runner up position. However, when paired with his second place finish earlier this month at Espinho, the result has catapulted him to the top of the LQS longboard tour, putting him in the driving seat for the year ahead.
Next came the turn of rising star Ellie Turner, who today became only the third Brit in the last ten years to power their way into a WQS final (the first and second was fellow female rippers Peony Knight and Emily Currie).
Ellie surfed smart heats throughout the event, displaying a composure and strategy often missing from Brit’s repertoire. Her approach was stylish and critical, laying down sweeping carves and hitting end sections with aplomb. Unfortunately conditions had deteriorated by the time her final entered the water and it felt as though the heat never quite got started, with very few waves offering the opportunity for more than one close out manoeuvre. Ellie waited patiently, eventually finding a wave that allowed her to link three good off the tops, but was left unable to find a solid back up, seeing her finish in fourth place.
Despite the heat outcome, the overall result is one to be seriously proud of, earning Ellie valuable points, prize money and confidence to carry through into the rest of the year and based on her performance both in and out of the contest vest in recent months, we’re sure there are big things to come for the Bude based ripper.