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Leila Hurst Leads Hawaiian Charge on Day 1 of the Swatch Girls Pro France

May 31, 2012

Les bourdaines, Seignosse (Wednesday, May 30, 2012) – The Swatch Girls Pro France started today and ran through the first three rounds of the 6-Star main event as well as the first two rounds of the Pro Junior division making it an entire day of competition with some of the surfers having to wear their singlet as much as 3 times. Leila Hurst (HAW) was the in form surfer today, leading the Hawaiian rampage through the early rounds of competition along with Alessa Quizon and Bethany Hamilton.

Leila Hurst (HAW) 18, reigning ASP World Junior Champion, started relatively slow this morning in her first heat of the day, before blowing up in Round 3, netting an incredible 9.00 point ride and a total heat combination of 17.25 out of 20. Hurst dominated her 25minute bout and left her three opponents needing a combination of two scores to try and take back the lead. Bethany Hamilton (HAW) placed second behind Hurst despite scoring one of the highest heat totals of the day.

“Honestly I think I just got lucky because I was watching before and I really didn’t know what I was going to do,” stated Hurst. “I just sat deep and waited for a wave, and two good waves came to me. I probably did loosen up after my first heat a bit because I get nervous at the beginning of a contest. I just feel better, my board feels great too and I’m happy I just got waves in that heat !”

At only 18 years old, Leila Hurst stepped up her game this year and is now rightfully considered one of the best women surfers in the World. In Europe for the second time, the young Hawaiian hopes for a better result than last year but keeps her head down and appreciates every step outside her Pacific island home.

“This is my second time surfing here for the Swatch event, and I didn’t do really well in the past so hopefully I can do better this time. Everybody’s here to win so I am too obviously, but I’m just having fun right now, I’m trying to enjoy traveling and contests and taking it one step at a time!”

Alessa Quizon (HAW) 18, was the third surfer to complete the dominating Hawaiian crew today, constantly posting high scores in the good and excellent range. Quizon won her two confrontations with heat totals over 15 points out of 20 in shifting 1-2Ft bumpy surf.

“I made it through, It was a kind of difficult, it was really small but it is what it is and you got to make the best out of it” said Quizon. “I just tried to take what was out there and complete as many moves as possible even on a short wave. This was my first time out here, unfortunately I didn’t get to surf the waves before the event.”

Starting off her first heat today, Alessa Quizon scored a 7.75 in the first minutes and later confirmed her impressive skills with an 8 point ride on route to qualification for Round 3. An energetic Quizon made for a really intense heat in which she surfed 11 waves, close to the maximum allowed in a competition situation.

“I don’t think I’m a naturally aggressive person, that’s only how my surfing looks. I like to move fast and I think it’s just better to move that way so you can get as many turns in as possible.”

In the European ranks, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 18, distinguished herself being one of the only surfers to put on her competition lycra a total of three times today. The Reunion Island resident had to battle her way through the first two rounds due a late entry.

“I entered the event really late and had to surf from Round 1 so that was my third heat of the day so far,” said Bulard. “I’m kind of used to it now, I paddled out and tried to catch as many waves as possible and when I got a good one I managed to make a couple good maneuvers. It’s super cool to get good scores in these conditions because these are not the waves I’m used to surfing at home in Reunion Island, it’s rarely that small and all over the place.”

Cannelle Bulard managed to win her first three heats today and was happy to relax after spending more than an hour of competitive surfing in a really short period of time. After a forced break from competition and training, Bulard confirmed she’s back on track for a go at the European Titles in both Women’s and Junior Women’s divisions.

“I really needed endurance today and I’m happy to still be in a good shape after my two-month break from training” said Bulard. “I suffered a knee injury a few months back and had to rest for a while, I just got back to riding a bicycle, training as well as surfing a month ago. I still feel a little weak sometimes but my surfing is okay now. I was 13th last year in the main event and in the Pro Junior I’ve always been eliminated early. My goal this year is definitely to qualify for the World Juniors so I’m going to focus my energy on that, but I keep in mind the European Women Title.”

Johanne Defay (FRA) 18, also started her Swatch Girls Pro France Junior campaign later this afternoon when she placed second behind Leila Hurst. The 2011 European Junior Champion will now try to take an early lead on the rankings by placing high in the Pro Junior event in Seignosse.

“It started well for me, I had a good wave right at the beginning of my heat, and I scored an 8.75 so I felt good and I just had to find a decent backup. Leila (Hurst) got her second to last wave and took the lead in the end but it’s all good. She already beat me in the World Juniors in Rio last year in the final and she’s a great surfer. She’s super quick so she always gets one more turn than everybody else on the same wave! She definitely finds the good ones.”

The 2012 Swatch Girls Pro France and Pro Junior will run from May 30 to June 3 in Hossegor / Seignosse, France. All results, photos, videos, news and LIVE webcast are available through www.swatchgirlspro.com

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