PLAYA DE SAN JUAN, Teguise / Lanzarote - Canary Islands - Luke Dillon (GBR) 19, and Tessa Thyssen (GLP) 17, have won the inaugural ASP 2-Star Teguise 2014 Franito Pro Junior in 2-to-3-foot surf at the pristine San Juan pointbreak.
Dillon came out victorious of an exciting final against Miguel Blanco (PRT) 18, in which the two surfers battled in multiple exchanges on back-to-back waves to deliver an action-packed 35-minute bout. His polished, radical backhand attack got Dillon the winning edge with an excellent 8.27 to seal the deal.
â€œIt's absolutely unbelievable to win here in front of everybody,â€ an ecstatic Dillon said. â€œThis is like my second home and I had all my family and friends here. This is a major European contest and I'm over the moon to get the win today. I've been training here for five or six weeks, and I've been coming here for years so I'd say I know the wave pretty well and that helped me a lot.â€
The last minute heroics Dillon proved capable of in Lanzarote vaulted the young British surfer up to fourth place on the European rankings, synonym of a coveted ticket for the ASP World Junior, next month in Portugal.
â€œThere's load of good kids coming up in England so hopefully my win here today just shows that it's possible for us British surfers too,â€ Dillon added. â€œGet a few of you over, concentrate, train a lot and have a laugh and good things will come. That's what the older guys have told me and that's what I'm telling the younger kids now. Before I came over I sort of thought it was possible to qualify for the World Junior but for it to come true honestly it's incredible.â€
Portugal's Blanco, carrying momentum from a couple of big performances in the quarters and semis, started the final off great with solid surfing to take an early lead. In a tight battle for first place, Blanco eventually missed a final opportunity, sitting in the lineup for a long ten minutes but unable to find a big set wave. Runner-up in Lanzarote, the talented regular-footer nets a career high result and looks strong for the 2015 junior season.
â€œIt was a good final, Luke and I had big scores and it was exciting,â€ Blanco confirmed. â€œHe got the two best waves so I'm a bit disappointed cause I wanted more, but I have one more season in the Juniors so I'll be coming back for more ! I came close to winning an event twice so that's my main goal now for sure.â€
In an all-Guadeloupean Women's final, Thyssen and Kim Veteau (GLP) 17, started on medium scores to gradually build towards excellence with powersurfing in a regular vs. goofy opposition. Thyssen on her forehand capitalized on her powerful and stylish snaps to post two solid scores and take the win.
â€œI was so stoked to surf against Kim in the final because I knew this was the culmination of the whole season,â€ Thyssen commented. â€œWe didn't get as many waves as we hoped but we had a good fight and in the end I was lucky to find the two good waves. I concentrated on really pushing the first bottom turn and first snap cause I knew the judges like when we attack the first and most critical section.â€
With one victory each under their belt before the final showdown in Lanzarote, Thyssen and Veteau battled not only for the event crown but also for the European Junior title.
â€œI'm so happy with my season,â€ Thyssen added. â€œI won the first and last event this year so it's definitely satisfying to put together a consistent year. I'm super proud to represent Europe with Kim at the World Junior, I know we'll both give our maximum and I'm looking forward to the next couple of Junior seasons as well, they should be really exciting !â€
Veteau, author of the event's highest combined heat total of a 17.43 earlier this week, couldn't unfortunately keep her excellent rhythm into the final heat, missing on the best waves coming through the lineup during the 35-minute heat.
â€œWe had a long lull in the final and I needed a big scoresâ€ Veteau said. â€œI knew I could do it, but I also knew an average wave wouldn't be enough so I waited and never found a set. It's a little frustrating, but I'm super stoked for Tessa and I'm happy to qualify for the World Junior too.â€
Going head-to-head with Thyssen all-year, Veteau put on a great fight and will be a force to be reckoned with when the season recommences in 2015. The two French Carribean surfers, only just starting their professional careers, carried maturity and fair-play everywhere they competed and will be great role models for the up-and-coming crowd of talent hailing from their native island.
â€œWe've competed together and against each other for years with Tessa,â€ Veteau admitted. â€œWe love where we're from. Guadeloupe is just starting to show on the global surfing map and we want to represent it the best we can. In the water it can get tense, but out of the water we're great friends and always supporting each other through highs and lows.â€