WSL PRESS RELEASE
Location: Cascais, Portugal
Event window: September 24 – October 2, 2016
Today’s call: Event Complete – Jesse Mendes Wins
Conditions: 2 – 3 foot (0.6 – 1 metre)
PRAIA DE GUINCHO, Cascais/Portugal (Saturday, October 1, 2016) – Jesse Mendes (BRA), 23, has won the Billabong Pro Cascais pres. by Allianz today over Jeremy Flores (FRA), 28, in wind-affected two-to-three foot surf at Guincho. Competition resumed early this morning with the quarterfinals to culminate with the crowning of Mendes around lunchtime in Portugal.
Both Flores and Mendes launched their final campaign in Cascais with medium scores to get the momentum going, with an edge for Flores who was quicker to put two waves on his scoreboard early on. In a wave-starved final, a little excitement came on the 10-minute mark as the two surfers split the peak, Flores on the right, Mendes on the left, both committing to surf on their forehand. Once again it was Flores who got the better of the exchange, with a 6.67 to extend his lead.
Shortly after, Mendes found a better wave and went to the air for a 5.93 to narrow the gap between himself and the Frenchman. With five minutes on the clock, Flores continued to build with a power surfing display on a long right to belt a 7.33. Mendes answered right back with two big turns on a better wave for an excellent 8.67 to steal the lead. In the final minute, Mendes put the final nail in his opponent’s coffin and walked away with the win.
“I was completely lost out there and Jeremy already had two scores, but everything came together and I got those two waves to win, I don’t even know what I’m feeling right now,” an emotional Mendes stated. “I’ve had so many close calls in this event, there’s just so much emotion today, buzzer beaters, it’s been an insane event, definitely the best of my life.”
This result today catapults Mendes from 44th to the N°10 spot on the 2016 Qualifying Series, and is the second time the talented goofy foot claims a QS10,000 victory, after his win in Azores back in 2014. The Guaruja local beneficiated from the support of an important Brazilian contingent in Cascais, making waves alongside Ian Gouveia and Bino Lopes among others.
“We have an Instagram account called @brazilian_qs that shows what goes on around the events and our whole crew,” he added. “That’s just how we are, we stick together, we fight together and support each other because we all come from the same place, we didn’t have any support when we started. That’s why we’re so strong now and why we’re a big nation of surfing.”
Current World N°31, Jeremy Flores had a near-perfect campaign in Portugal, reaching the final with some of the best surfing seen all-week, but unfortunately couldn’t match the Brazilian’s flair and was forced to take the runner-up spot. The Frenchman who has made a habit of waiting for the back half of the year to launch his QS assault once again posted an important result that will vault him to N°6 before the Hawaiian leg where he’s a dominant force each year.
“This event is probably one of the hardest if not the hardest on the QS worldwide every year, we get to surf in every possible kind of conditions and it is stacked with talented surfers,” Flores explained. “I’m stoked to make a few heats and show some good surfing. I have a lot of support from many people and I’m really happy to give back with a good performance. It’s a good confidence boost for sure but next week at home things will be completely different, it’s another field with different conditions and a whole other level of surfing as well.”
In an all-Brazilian first semifinal, Bino Lopes (BRA), 28, couldn’t quite contain the repeated assaults of Mendes and despite his excellent surfing on both the lefts and rights of Guincho, was forced to place equal third. This result pushes Lopes to N°5 on the Qualifying Series leaving Cascais and heading to the final big events of 2016.
“It’s a big result, very important for me to reach my goal of qualifying,” Lopes stated. “I want to congratulate Jesse (Mendes), he had an amazing heat and good strategy. I made a couple mistakes but still feel like I improved again, I feel like I’m getting better with every heat and every event I surf and am definitely more consistent so I’m super happy. I don’t really like to live in the future, I’m super happy right now in my life and having a lot of fun competing so I’ll just keep focusing on the present and enjoy every moment of it.”
Ian Gouveia (BRA), 23, was one of the event’s most entertaining surfers, consistently posting big numbers on his way to a semifinal berth, including two high nines. The young Brazilian on the rise spent the better part of his matchup against Flores in Semifinal N°2 batlling average waves, until he finally took it to the air for an amazing alley-oop rotation and a 9.67 to get out of a combination situation. Unfortunately time ran out from there and Gouveia couldn’t find another wave to fight for the final. Gouveia cements his position in the QS Top5 with the 6,500 ranking points collected today.
“I can’t describe this moment right now, I never did any good result before this Europe leg, and now two finals, a 5th in Morocco and a 3rd in a QS10,000 just feels amazing,” Gouveia said. “I’ll see what the rest of the year brings but my head is definitely already on the CT and I’ll do my best to get there. I became a dad recently and grew up, maybe things got more serious. I’ve been working a lot and it shows, before I could never surf a heat as well as a freesurf and now I’m pulling my airs and some good turns, it just seems like everything’s going my way.”
The culmination of the Billabong Pro Cascais pres. By Allianz today concludes the European Qualifying Series season, with the region now focusing on the two upcoming Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour events, the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro France and the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
The WSL Men’s QS10,000 Billabong Pro Cascais pres. by Allianz was scheduled from September 24 – October 2, 2016 and ran in conjunction with the Cascais Women’s Pro in Cascais, Portugal. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to worldsurfleague.com or the WSL mobile app.
The Billabong Pro Cascais presented by Allianz Seguros is supported by the Câmara Municipal de Cascais (Cascais City Council), Billabong, Allianz Seguros, Tourism Portugal (Portuguese Waves), EDP, MEO, Jogos Santa Casa, Hertz & MagicSeaWeed among others.
Billabong Pro Cascais Final Results:
1- Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.54
2- Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.00
Billabong Pro Cascais Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.16 def. Bino Lopes (BRA) 14.36
SF 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.13 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 15.44
Billabong Pro Cascais Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.07 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 14.80
QF 2: Bino Lopes (BRA) 13.33 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.03
QF 3: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 17.30 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 16.67
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.36 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.50