Intensity Rises at Oakley Pro Junior France
LACANAU OCEAN – France (Friday, August 14, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior held its second day of action at Lacanau today in similar two foot (0.5 meter) waves, all big names getting their start in the coveted event. With the excellent sand banks delivering consistent waves throughout the day, the much expected clashes between top seeds could eventually take place and offer the hundreds of people an exciting show.
Beating sun and clear blue skies were the setting of Day 2, most of the event favorites getting the opportunity to express their surfing despite the tricky but clean conditions. Fifth event of seven on this year’s ASP European Junior Tour, the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior is a crucial contest for all regional ratings’ front-runners looking to grab points before heading to the last couple of events.
Competing in his second event this season only, last event winner Maxime Huscenot (REU), 17, paddled back out with his red competition vest on to show fellow competitors he was aiming at another big result in Lacanau. At ease in the small surf on offer, Huscenot was unstoppable throughout his 20-minute match-up with Oakley wildcard Lewis St John (BRB), Charlie Brown (BRA) and Ander Mendiguren (EUK).
“I had been training for a few days before competing today so I was pretty confident I could get a couple of good waves,” Huscenot said. “I still had a tricky moment out there when the rest of the guys started to catch waves but things went my way and I was able to get the better waves.”
Huscenot, who left the water with a solid 15.93 point heat score (out of a possible 20) to seal the deal and advance through to Round 4, made his intentions clear he was ready to compete, and surf well. Posting an 8.83 point ride for the event’s second best wave score, the 17-year-old Reunion Island resident finished ahead of his heat.
“That one good wave gave me the confidence to relax and remain patient,” Huscenot said. “Then I waited for that back-up ride and secured the few turns required to make it through.”
Having popped back on tour a couple of weeks ago at Sopelana in the Basque Country where he claimed the title, Huscenot will have to catch-up with current ratings’ leaders pretty fast to keep his ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) qualification hopes alive, knowing the regional Top 4 only gets its ticket to Australia.
“My goal this season is to try and qualify for the ASP WJC at Narabeen in January,” Husecnot said. “Winning events is just great and that win at Sopelana for my first event in Europe this year was pretty special to me. I am just recovering from a knee injury and I couldn’t have hoped for more back there. I am feeling better now and I will just try and enjoy this event to keep the pressure off.”
While Day 1 dominator Wiggoly Dantas (BRA) was confirming his status of event favorite with his impressive speed and flow on the small waves walling-up to the shore, current ASP European Junior ratings’ leader Jatyr Berasaluce (Sopelana, EUK), 20, was easily securing a Quarterfinal berth to keep his impressive series of big results up and running.
Berasaluce, who placed runner-up in the last two events at San Sebastian and Sopelana since the end of July, showed consistency for his start in the ASP Grade-2 event todayposting a couple of promising and solid scores to advance and lead the Basque contingent.
“I am pretty happy with my start and feeling comfortable at Lacanau,” Berasaluce said. “My first Pro Junior final was here in Lacanau and the sand bank is very similar to what it was last year so it seems like the set-up is good for me.”
Berasaluce, who is aiming at a qualification for the ASP WJC this year for his last chance before turning 21, will have to try and contain the assaults of other big names Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 19, Marc Lacomare (Capbreton, FRA) amongst others to remain the No. 1 surfer in Europe till the next event.
“Being No. 1 is definitely great but I know there are many excellent surfers right behind me waiting to grab those points,” Berasaluce said. “With these three main events starting now, things are going to be very close and I’ll have to stick to my plan and surf well. I have a great board at the moment and to see the Basque team improving along is a great support as well. We are all cheering each other and this makes a big difference as well.”
With the glare forcing the ASP regional head judge Iain Buchanan to put the event on hold until tomorrow Saturday 7 AM, all remaining Round 4 heats (H5 to H8) will take place in the morning with the Oakley Pro Junior Girls event scheduled to kick off this weekend as well.
Visit www.aspeurope.com and www.sooruzlacanaupro.com for results, photos and news of the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior