Sopela Pro Junior

Guadeloupe's Kim Veteau and Tim Bisso Win Sopela Pro Junior

PLAYA DE SOPELA, Bizcaya / Basque Country - Kim Veteau and Tim Bisso have won the 2014 Sopela Pro Junior in bumpy 1-2Ft (80 cm) waves. A decreasing swell forced contest officials to complete the event early in the waiting period, but sunny blue skies and clean little runners made for a perfect final day of competition.

Kim Veteau (GLP) 16, has won her inaugural ASP Pro Junior event in Sopela and jumps up into the second place on the regional rankings. The only women to break the 9-point barrier, Veteau earns a logical win in the Basque country.

Kim Veteau (GLP) Veteau on her way to victory - WSL / Damien Poullenot

“I had a revenge to take from Portugal so that win is incredible for me,” Veteau stated. “I had one average heat earlier here but the rest of the event I felt great and I came into the final super relaxed, maybe that's the difference with Leti who was feeling the pressure probably more.”

Veteau took an early command of the final with a good wave surfed into the shorebreak for a 6.00. The young Guadeloupean on her backhand exploited the little sections well and let her surfing do the talking. The latter exchanges went in her favour and Veteau kept the lead up until the final buzzer.

“The next event is the real test for all of us,” Veteau continued. “With many internationals coming to surf against us, if I really want that first place I'll have to be on point in Hossegor. My main goal this season is qualification for the World Juniors so I'm in a good position now and I'll try to maintain my momentum going.”

Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) 19, placed runner-up and consolidated her position in the top European spots eyeing a potential qualification for the World Juniors.

Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) Canales Bilbao pleased her home crowd with an excellent 2nd place. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

“It's obviously bitter-sweet for me,” Canales said. “A second place is a great result but I really hoped I'd win here at home. Well, it still improves my situation and I want to congratulate Kim she's a really good friend and surfed super well.”

An in-form surfer since the opening rounds, Canales had high hopes to please her support crew watching the action closely and adds a second excellent result to her season tally.

“There's a really fun battle with Kim, Teresa and Tessa. My goal is the number one spot and we'll take the race to Hossegor now, I'll try my best there to finish on top !”

Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) Bonvalot's good run was stopped in the semis. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) and Tessa Thyssen (GLP) complete the podium with an equal third place. The former winner and runner-up in Espinho failed to advance into the final in two extremely tight semis matchups with Veteau and Canales.

In the men's field and at the term of an action-packed final, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 17, capitalized on his opponent's mistakes and surfed a smart heat to take the win.

Timothee Bisso (GLP) Bisso carried up the beach post victory. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

“I'm super happy, I managed to sneak-in in second place through all-rounds, and to take the win in the end is very special,” Bisso admitted. “I'm looking ahead at Lacanau already and I hope I can make another final and who knows even win again !”

In an all-French affair, where both continental and overseas territories of France were represented, Bisso adds a second victory to his native island of Guadeloupe. On the rebound after an uncharacteristic early loss in Portugal, Bisso adapted perfectly to the conditions in Sopela.

“I was sick in Portugal and didn't do well, so I'm stoked to get back up in the rankings,” Bisso continued. “I'm very happy for Kim as well she really deserved it today. It just shows that Guadeloupe is a great place to perfect your surfing and I think we have a really strong group coming up in the Junior ranks.”

Considered unbeatable by many observers today, Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 18, built momentum all-event. The talented Tahitian eventually failed to win though, suffering an interference call in the most important heat of his Basque campaign.

Mateia Hiquily (PYF) Hiquily, an unlucky runner-up in Sopela - WSL / Damien Poullenot

“I really tanked it with that interference,” Hiquily reflected. “I had the two best scores in the final so it's extremely disappointing. But I'm building experience and I won't make that mistake ever again ! It's a huge confidence boost still cause I got great scores all-event so I'm looking forward to the next one.”

Nelson Cloarec (FRA) and Andy Criere (FRA) placed respectively 3rd and 4th, both collecting precious points towards the overall regional rankings.