An epic opening day of competition was completed at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Seignosse Le Penon, SW France. Perfect 3-4ft conditions allowed for great heats to run on both podiums over the weekend, with the world’s best junior surfers revelling in ideal conditions.

The main podium ran U18 heats on a perfect right-hand sandbank, which at times provided 150-200m rides. Standouts included DC team rider Marc Lacomare who tore apart a couple of right-handers to post a 15.9 heat score. He said: "I feel good, my boards feel good. I’m at home, all my friends are here so I hope to do well. The French team are here to win but it will be really hard with the countries like Australia and Hawaii. It’s going to be hard to beat them but we will do our best."

South African surfer Shaun Joubert posted an 18-point heat and could afford to throw away a 7.5 and an 8.47. He seemed quite at home: "I live at a right hand point, and the waves were turning on out there so I felt like I was at home. The weather is good, the water is warm, I couldn’t ask for anything better. I was feeling pretty good before the heat, but starting off with a good heat obviously helps. There are lots of good surfers so I will just see how I go." Talking about team South Africa’s chances, he said: "We have definitely got a really strong team this year, so if all the boys and girls do well we will hopefully be up there with Australia, Brazil and America."

The U16 podium - just a short walk south along the glorious Landes beach - ran on another great peak. It was predominantly a left, which at times also provided perfect 200m rides throughout the day. Jonathan Hicks from New Zealand posted 18 points on the judges’ score sheets with his best two waves, stringing together a series of large turns. For those surfers who didn’t perform so well today they will all get a second chance to surf in the repercharge round, from which they will still have the opportunity to re-qualify for the finals.

Forecasts remain positive for some more quality surf for the rest of the week.

Words by Gabe Davies