The talented goofy-footer kept busy for the entire 25-minute bout, staying in the inside section of the wave, the same strategy that qualified him for the Final. Cloarec capitalized midway through with a huge vertical turn and a reentry to complete the ride and collect the first solid score of the Final.
â€œI'm super happy, I won another event here in Lacanau two years ago so it looks like it's working for me here,â€ Cloarec said. â€œI don't know exactly where I am in the title race but for sure that's a confidence boost and I'll try my best in the last event this season.â€
With only minutes on the clock, he applied pressure on Miguel Tudela (PER), his closest opponent, who needed a small score to overtake him. This win propels Cloarec to fourth place in the rankings, before the final showdown in Lanzarote next month.
â€œWaves kept coming at me all day so I'm lucky, I guess,â€ Cloarec said. â€œWhen Miguel needed that 4.00 at the end, I don't like to do it, but I had to try to block him. He's an excellent surfer, I knew he could get that score eyes closed. Vasco [Ribeiro] and Leo [Fioravanti] were ripping all event too, congrats to them.â€
Tudela, 19, was in a tough spot with only minutes remaining but wisely selected a beautiful righthander. Three well-executed backside hacks got him back in the race with the highest score of the Final, an excellent 8.27. The ocean, however, didn't let him get the backup score he needed to overtake Cloarec, and he finished Runner-Up.
â€œI feel really tired, surfing four heats today in waves like this,â€ Tudela admitted. â€œIt's my third time coming here and by far the best waves I've had. I'm stoked on making the Final with all the European guys, everyone was ripping.â€
Fresh off an excellent fourth place at the Vans US Open Junior Pro, Tudela collected another big result and built his confidence before the start of the main event in Lacanau.
â€œIt's too bad I came up just short on my backup score but all good.â€ Tudela continued. â€œIt's great training for the QS [ASP Qualification Series]. I hope the waves stay like this and we have some fun heats this week.â€
Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 19, an absolute standout in the Semis, unfortunately couldn't keep his rhythm into the Final. Despite a valiant last-minute effort, Ribeiro came short of getting the score needed, and placed third.
â€œThere were some really nice waves, but hard to catch to say the least,â€ said Ribeiro. â€œI had a good rhythm coming into the Final, but the other guys just kept getting the better waves, it's unfortunate.â€
The current leader in the European Junior Series, Ribeiro solidified his lead and is in a great spot before the final event in the Canary Islands.
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 16, came very close to landing a radical frontside air-reverse that could have changed the whole Final, but couldn't stick the maneuver. The reigning European Junior champion placed fourth.
â€œIt's definitely not the Final I was hoping for,â€ Fioravanti said. â€œBut I'm stoked, I surfed well all event and got some solid scores. That Final was all about wave selection and Tom played it well, I'm happy for him.â€
A very experienced competitor, Fioravanti sat way outside at the beginning of the Final, hoping to score one of the bigger waves on offer. With few sets during the high tide, the option didn't pay off, and the Italian eventually had to regroup and compete with the other three surfers in the inside.
â€œI waited for that long righthander outside, I knew I could have gotten a big score there,â€ he said. â€œUnfortunately my first wave didn't reform properly and I didn't get anything else. This season is not a good one for me, I'm lacking consistency so I'm happy with this result and I'm going to try my best in Lanzarote.â€
Following the Lacanau Pro Junior, Ribeiro sits in first place on the European Junior rankings, followed by Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Timothee Bisso (GLP) and Tom Cloarec. Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) completes the Top 5.
The first call for the ASP 5-Star Soöruz Lacanau Pro will be at 8 AM/local time Tuesday, August 12.