Chelsea Tuach on her way to winning the Martinique Surf Pro. (Picture courtesy World Surfing League/Damien Poullenot.)
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Top Barbadian surfer Chelsea Tuach was crowned champion in the women’s division of the Martinique Surf Pro yesterday.
The Bajan was a stand-out all week at the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series 3000 with her powerful, fluid surfing on the right-hand point break of Basse Pointe.
She defeated three Australian surfers on route to her final win – Holly Wawn in the quarters, Philippa Anderson in the semis and Claire Bevilacqua in the final.
This win catapulted Tuach to the top of the North American QS rankings and to 16th in the world.
“I’ve had such a great week and I think it’s so important. When you’re in a place you feel really comfortable, you enjoy all the little things more and you carry more confidence,” Tuach said.
“I’ve been putting together some good heats and everything worked out for me, and here I am with the win. It’s a big week. I can’t wait to go home and compete there soon.”
Fellow Barbadian Josh Burke finished a commendable ninth out of 12 surfers in the men’s field.
Burke ended his fifth-round heat in third position, behind Leonardo Fioravanti (14.17) and Miguel Tudela (11.80) after gaining a score of 11.70.
“I am really enjoying my time here in Martinique and feel comfortable surfing in the Caribbean. I feel so much support from the crowds and I am really happy to be in the semis [yesterday]. I will do my very best to put on a good show and make my Caribbean family happy,” said Burke.
In a nail-biting fourth heat, Burke eliminated former World Championship Tour surfer and two-time United States Open champion Alejo Muniz of Brazil, gaining a combined wave score of 11.97 as he finished behind Miguel Blanco (12.17).
After moving on to the Round of 16, Burke dropped a 6.27 to move from fourth into the quarter-final advancing position but Peruvian Pipeline surfer Tudela scored a six in the dying minute to edge him out by 0.10 of a point.
“I am really pleased with how my year is going, especially after last week’s win in Cocoa Beach. My Dad (Allan Burke) won there back in 1991, so it was great to take my first big event win there,” he said of his Florida’s Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro success.
“I have been working really hard on practising the high-scoring manoeuvres, wave selection and keeping my mind relaxed. This approach seems to be working,” Burke added. (HG/EZS/PR)