NewsJunior Pro SopelaKauli Vaast

Neis Lartigue and Leo Paul Etienne Win Junior Pro Sopela

Highlights: Lartigue and Etienne Crowned in Sopela
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The Junior Pro Sopela culminated in great surf to crown Neis Lartigue and Leo Paul Etienne as the event champions. Kauli Vaast clinches the European Junior Qualifying Series title.

The Crown Goes to Prince Vaast

Kauli Vaast 's leading position on the ranking allowed him to get the coveted European Junior crown before the very end of this event, in front of his cheering teammates and coach. At only fifteen years old, he has a promising competitive future. With three more seasons in the junior category, he still has a lot of time to perfect his flow and technique. When he grows up and gets stronger, keep an eye on this kid. He'll probably end up on top of the QS ranking within a few years.

Kauli Vaast (PYF) .Jr Pro Sopela 2017 Kauli Vaast (PYF) WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I was really stressed before entering the water, but luckily I managed to calm down before the start of the heat," he said. "There weren't many waves and I've had to wait a long time before getting a first score, but after that everything went good. I'm so happy to win the European Title today. It's the first year that I've been competing on all the Junior events, so that's a great result for me! I will keep training hard for the World Juniors for sure."

Frenchmen lead the way to NSW

Leo Paul Etienne beat Vaast in the final and sits now on the third position of the European Junior rankings. He was ripping absolutely in the final and managed to put an end to Vaast's domination.

Leo Paul Etienne (FRA). Jr Pro Sopela 2017 Leo Paul Etienne (FRA) WSL / Laurent Masurel

"I'm so happy to win the last event of the junior tour," he said. "I've earned enough points to improve my ranking and now I'm qualified for the World Champs. The waves were super fun out there. I even had a few barrels, great re-entries and good scores."

Leo Paul Etienne (FRA). Jr Pro Sopela 2017 Leo Paul Etienne (FRA) WSL / Laurent Masurel

Europe's hopes for a Junior World Title will be carried by four French surfers. Since the quarterfinals of this event, the French contingent has been dominating, and at the end of the day, Tahitian Vaast and mainland's Marco Mignot, Leo Paul Etienne and Theo Julitte make up the full team heading to Australia for the World Junior Championships in Kiama, New South Wales.

Brilliant finish for Turner and Lartigue

Current Biarritz resident Neis Lartigue claimed a career-best result this week at the Junior Pro Sopela. After many ups and downs during the previous events, Lartigue finally came out on top to win the event title.

"I'm stoked," she said. "It's such a good feeling. I still can't believe I won. Ellie (Turner) is a very good surfer. She is ripping. She has been surfing very well during the whole event and this is what pushed me to give my best and outperform myself. After the complicated season I had this year, this is the finish that I was expecting."

Nis Lartigue (FRA) .Jr Pro Sopela 2017 Nis Lartigue (FRA) WSL / Laurent Masurel

With a runner-up today, Ellie Turner secured her Top2 position overall and wave the European colors in Australia alongside this year's European Champion Teresa Bonvalot (PRT).

"That's not the result I was hoping for," she regretted. "Neis (Lartigue) surfed really well and I'm happy for her, she deserved the win. I was unlucky as I didn't get any more waves but I'm still happy with my European ranking".

Ellie Turner (GBR) .Jr Pro Sopela 2017 Ellie Turner (GBR) WSL / Laurent Masurel

Following the completion of the last European Junior Qualifying Series event, the top 5 stands as follows. For the full ranking, visit this page.

MEN'S EUROPEAN JUNIOR QS TOP 5:
1 - Kauli Vaast (PYF) European Champion
2 - Marco Mignot (FRA)
3 - Leo Paul Etienne (FRA)
4 - Theo Julitte (FRA)
5 - Erwan Blouin (FRA)

WOMEN'S EUROPEAN JUNIOR QS TOP 5:
1 - Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) European Champion
2 - Ellie Turner (GBR)
3 - Neis Lartigue (FRA)
4 - Juliette Lacome (FRA)
5 - Vahine Fierro (PYF)

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