- 20 May 2009 | Surfing
Reunion's Canelle Bulard (15) today stamped her authority on the long right hand waves of Ponta d'Ouro in Mozambique as she took out the win in the third annual Roxy Invitational and walked away with R10,000 in prize money.
Fresh off a sixth place finish in the recent Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Ecuador, Bulard has been a stand-out throughout the week long waiting period in Mozambique, impressing her South African counterparts with her stylish backhand attack.
In the forty minute final Bulard found herself up against 15 year old wunderkind Sarah Baum (Durban) and fellow Reunion invitee Johanne Defay, and was in rampant form.
''I am so happy to have won such an amazing contest,'' said Bulard at the prize-giving ceremony on the beach. ''This has been such a great contest and the waves have been amazing, I really love Mozambique now.''
Starting off slowly Bulard waited a full five minutes before stroking into her first wave, a solid four footer which walled up across the sandbank allowing her to hammer five solid backhand turns before kicking out on the shallow inside bank.
Bulard's compatriot Defay, on the other hand, was quick out of the starting blocks, snagging three waves before Bulard or Baum had even opened their accounts, but she seemed a bit tentative on some of her moves and unfortunately fell on all three waves and was penalized by the judges.
Durban goofy-footer Baum has also been a stand-out the entire week, raising some of the more established competitors' eyebrows with her powerful backhand surfing, and surfed a great semi-final against fellow South African Junior Surfing Team member Bianca Buitendag (George).
However in the final the 15 year old battled to find position and repeatedly paddled into waves that offered her little scoring potential as they either went flat or closed out.
Bulard in the mean time kept finding the best waves and surfing them with amazing poise and style, while Defay attempted to play catch-up but continued to come unstuck as she pushed herself too hard.
Midway through the heat Baum stroked into her first decent wave, and milked it all the way down the line before finishing off with a big fins free off-the-lip over the shallow inside bank. The wave was well rewarded by the judges and put the Durbanite back into contention.
But a cool and confident Bulard was quick to answer back as she stoked into a little gem of a wave that horse-shoed on the sandbank offering her a perfect little bowl to bash relentlessly.
Showing what a big future she has, the teenager absolutely tore the wave to pieces as she demolished section after section with her stylish backhand to post yet another big score and push her lead a little further out of reach of Baum as she posted a heat score of 18.75 out of a possible 20.
When asked about the final Bulard said, ''I was very relaxed before the final started and had found a nice section half way down the point that was breaking perfectly, so I just sat there and waited for the good waves to come.''
As the heat drew to a close Baum had one last stab at usurping Bulard's lead as she took off on a clean four foot wave and began working it on her backhand. But unfortunately for the young South African the wave didn't offer enough for her to take the lead from the Reunion local and Baum finished with a score of 17.65 and had to settle for second place and R3,000 in prize money.
''That was a really tough final,'' said Baum after leaving the water. ''The waves were so good and Canelle and Johanne were surfing so well but I'm really stoked to have finished second in such a prestigious event.''
St Leu local Johanne Defay took the third place finish and R2,000 in prize money for her troubles.
Earlier in the morning the three semi-finals had been surfed in very contestable conditions, and were a youthful affair with the oldest semi-finalist being 18 year old Alice MacGregor (East London). MacGregor found herself up against Defay in the first semi-final of the day, and bowed out to the young Reunion surfer.
The second semi-final had seen Baum eliminate fellow South African Junior Surfing Team member Bianca Buitendag, and the last semi-final saw Bulard dispatch of 17 year old Durban surfer Kirsty Delport after one of the most exciting and highest scoring heats of the event.
The Roxy Invitational is presented by Saltwater Girl Magazine, in association with Virgin Mobile and Resolution.
Johanne Defay (Reunion) defeated Alice MacGregor (East London)
Sarah Baum (Durban) defeated Bianca Buitendag (George)
Canelle Bulard (Reunion) defeated Kirsty Delport (Durban)
1. Canelle Bulard (18.75)
2. Sarah Baum (17.65)
3. Johanne Defay (9.8)