PLAYA DE SAN JUAN, Teguise / Lanzarote - Canary Islands - Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 19, and Tessa Thyssen (GLP) 17, were crowned the 2014 ASP European Junior Champions today at the ASP 2-Star Teguise 2014 Franito Pro Junior.
One of the most disputed Junior seasons to date culminated today in the dreamy island of Lanzarote to crown two talented young athletes for the first time in their careers.
Leading the pack coming into the final event this week, Ribeiro was stopped in his Lanzarote campaign by an in-form Andy Criere (FRA). He then had to sit back and watch good friend and fellow Portuguese Miguel Blanco (PRT) serve him the coveted title when he defeated the last contender Mateia Hiquily (PYF).
â€œMy win in Portugal was crucial, â€ Ribeiro explained. â€œI felt good all year but I made some little mistakes along the way that almost cost me the title. It was my last junior season and I've come so close these past three years so I'm stoked to finally win the European title. I'm ready to take on the QS now.â€
Ribeiro will have the priviledge to lead a talented crew of European surfers into the ASP World Junior, to be held next month in Ericeira, Portugal. With a solid experience on the international tours, the powerful regular-footer will look to post a major result when competing against the World's Best under-20 athletes.
â€œWe have our chances this year at the World Junior,â€ a confident Ribeiro added. â€œThe level here in Europe never stops to increase and I hope we all do good and secure the top spots. In Portugal we have a great team, everyone's very supportive and when we travel in a group it's a great athmosphere, that pushes us to constantly do better.â€
Alongside Ribeiro, Timothee Bisso (GLP), Tom Cloarec (FRA), Luke Dillon (GBR), Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), as well as Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) â€” who's currently the highest ranked Junior on the Qualifying Series â€” will represent the Old Continent in Ericeira next month.
Thyssen, also started her 2014 campaign with a win in Portugal, and maintained an exceptionnal rhythm all-year, posting excellent results one after another. A third place in Sopela, and a fifth place in Hossegor where a field of international competitors made the task even harder, before finally claiming a second win in the final event today at the Teguise 2014 Franito Pro Junior.
â€œI am so happy right now,â€ an all-smiles Thyssen admitted. â€œI had so much pressure in this last event, I was really scared to see everything fall apart at the last minute. I'm stoked to win here today, and I want to thank Eric Termeau my coach and Billabong for all their support this season.â€
While Thyssen, only 17 years-old, still has a few seasons to mature her surfing amongst the Juniors, the talent she showcased in 2014 promises a bright future for the next generations of French surfers at the Elite level.
â€œPauline (Ado) and Johanne (Defay) are such great role models for us younger surfers in France and Europe,â€ Thyssen continued. â€œThat's definitely the direction I hope my career is taking but there's a long road ahead. I'm stoked we got some fun waves this year on the Junior tour and with Teresa (Bonvalot) and the other girls pushing behind I think the next seasons will be really exciting to follow !â€
Thyssen will be joined by good friend and runner-up in both the European title race and in Lanzarote today, Kim Veteau (GLP) into the ASP World Junior in Portugal.