Juban and Erpenstein Reign Supreme in Chilean Perfection

Juban and Erpenstein tore apart one of the best-ever competition days on the windsurfing World Wave Tour. Head judge Boujmaa commented, “It was insane conditions and action. The energy I felt today was the one of the best contests of my life to witness. With the conditions, the action, the vibe and the community, it was amazing.”

Right at the start of the semi finals, the swell kicked in with a bang and over mast high sets started to roll in.  The current became treacherous and competitors had to wait for lulls to get out, but when the sets rolled in, they offered incredible down the line riding.

Women’s Finals

The women’s final saw a great battle between a super-charged Alexia Kiefer Quintana (Spain) and Lina Erpenstein (Germany). Alexia’s power turns in critical sections had impressed the judges the entire competition, After a somewhat shaky start, Kiefer Quintana took a good set and slayed her way through three power turns under the looming lip and in front of the rocks. Erpenstein answered back with some solid turns in the pocket. But in the last minute of the heat, Erpenstein took a good sized, peeling wave, slashed her way through some turns and then pulled off a nice aerial to take the win.

It was Erpenstein’s first ever win in a 5 star event. “I’m over the moon happy.  I’ve dreamt about this for so long, but the level was so high and the bombs were rolling in and I was just in survival mode. I’m very happy with the tactics in the heat. I positioned well and read the waves well.  It feels unreal to win. Just this whole trip has been a trip of a lifetime” she said.

It was also Kiefer Quintana’s first 5 star podium. “It felt amazing. I really loved this competition because I was not nervous at all. I had a lot of fun on the water.  I was shouting to myself, ‘come on Alexia, you have to do it’. I love wave riding. The waves were really big, but you just need self confidence” she said.

14 year-old Sol Degrieck (Spain) proved she’s a growing force to be reckoned with, especially in waves of consequence. She picked some great bombs and rode across critical sections with no fear to take third place.  Pauline Katz (Switzerland) had ridden well the whole competition, choosing good waves and attacking sections to make her way into fourth.

Men’s Finals

Some of the biggest sets of the day came through in the men’s final.  Despite a relaxed demeanour, an intensely focused Camille Juban picked the biggest and best sets, tearing apart the biggest wave of the day with a 15 foot face.  Where many waves looked like they would break too fast for real top to bottom riding, Juban managed to do more turns, in more critical places on the bombs than anyone else, and then finish by nailing huge aerials. The waves seemed to slow down when he was riding, but that was just an indication of how good his read on the waves was.   On another bomb set, that many would have deemed to have a close-out section, Juban managed to pull off multiple smacks and an almost impossibly late aerial to score a 9.13. Juban finished the day with an excellent heat score of 18.16 and was the deserved winner. “We just couldn’t ask for more on a finals day and we got the best in the world. I’m just super stoked.  It was a long week and it was hard to stay focused, but I’m super happy to finish with a such a good day with great waves,” said a stoked Juban.

Not far behind Juban was a fired up Morgan Noireaux (France), Noireaux pulled the move of the contest with a radically high 360 on a monster wave, that was landed with incredible perfection to score an 8.23.  Noireaux acknowledged, “That was one of the best ones I’ve ever done.”  He continued his charge by picking off a bomb, riding with his powerful top to bottom surf style and then making a mast high aerial at the end for his best score of 8.57.

Noireax looks fired up for a genuine world title run.  He’s just had a 4th place in Japan, now followed by a 2nd in Chile.  Prior to the event, he said he felt he could make a podium and he achieved that. “That was some of the best conditions we’ve had for an event.  I’m feeling really good, having set a goal of reaching the podium and reaching that goal.  It’s cool to feel like I’m good in a lot of different conditions” said Noireaux.

Victor Fernandez tended to pick the medium set waves, which may have cost him a higher place, but it seemed a deliberate strategy where he could guarantee pulling off a goiter, aerials and some beautifully critical turns to take third place. Philip Koster (Germany) had some solid waves, and one very radical rail turn. Despite several very close attempts of large sets, he just wasn’t able to complete one of his extreme aerial maneuvers.

With the main competition finished after five intense days, Masters and Pro Juniors will likely compete tomorrow.  But the Chile World Cup has cemented itself as a premier 5 star event on the World Windsurfing Tour.

Follow the live competition scores on LiveHeats, and the official IWT event page.  Follow on social media channels @IWT_Wave_Tour and @PWAworldtour.

Photos by @fishbowldiaries

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