PLAYA DE SOPELANA, Euskadi â€“ Basque Country (Sunday, July 28, 2013) - Clean offshore 2-3Ft surf greeted competitors this morning on the final day of the ASP 1-Star Men and Women Sopela O'Neill Pro Junior pres. by Bar El Penon. Diego Mignot (FRA) and Cannelle Bulard (REU) have won this second stop of the ASP European Junior Series in Sopelana, Basque Country.
Diego Mignot (FRA) 17, went on a tear in the final heat today posting a 9.50 and a 9.00 to claim the highest combined heat total of the event and securing his maiden ASP Pro Junior win. His powerful backside surfing was unmatched today and the young surfer walks away with the Sopelana crown.
"It's unreal, I can't believe I've just won !" an euphoric Mignot said. "That was always my goal to win an event but I still can't believe I just did. I think wave selection was key today cause there weren't that many in the final and fortunately I got a few."
Sitting in equal 7th position before Sopelana, Mignot grabs the frontseat in the 2013 European Title race with his victory today and will now need to confirm when competition resumes next week in Gijon.
"I'm going to try no to think too much about the rankings and take it event by event, my goal is to finish in the top spots to secure a qualification for the World Juniors, we'll see how that goes !"
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15, places second in this exciting final despite scoring the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event for a couple of radical top turns followed by an incredible air reverse to finish the wave.
"I feel good, we had a great final and everyone surfed very well !" Fioravanti said. "Unfortunately I got blocked a little but that's how competition goes and I can't do anything about it. On that 10 I did two turns and I knew cause Diego already had a 9 and was surfing really good I needed to go big so I went for a big reverse and made it !"
Seasoned competitor but a new addition to the ASP tours, Leonardo Fioravanti starts off well his 2013 campaign and jumps directly in 6th position on the regional rankings. An avid traveler, Fioravanti's experience in all sorts of conditions will help him apprehend the different locales of this season's Junior tour.
"I know Canaries and Lacanau, never been to Galice but I just look forward to surfing all those waves, it'll be an interesting season with good pro juniors and everyone's going to get good waves !"
Ian Fontaine (FRA) and Tomas Fernandes (PRT) complete the podium respectively in third and fourth position. The two surfers could never quite catch up with the frontrunner in this final but put up a good fight, Fontaine even had to come in to the beach 6 minutes early after using his full 15 waves allowed trying to improve his score board.
Cannelle Bulard (REU) 19, entered the water with determination and focus on the event win in the final and kept busy out in the lineup consistently building her scoreboard wave after wave. After just coming short of the event win in the first event, Bulard refocused and surfed a smart heat to secure the victory today and join Johanne Defay on top of the Women's rankings.
"I'm so tired ! I think I never wanted to win that bad and I just gave everything I had," Bulard said. "I didn't get anything in the first 12mn or so and then I started taking a few with only one manoeuver and finally I got that good one and I even claimed it aha !"
An uncharacteristic error from Johanne Defay allowed Bulard to get back in the heat and manage to keep the girls off of the best waves, while they only needed medium scores to overcome the difference and take the lead.
"I thought that heat would never end, I'm so happy right now ! I didn't want to let Johanne have that one too, it would have been too easy so now the battle continues ! I'm stoked that we got some good waves today it wasn't easy but really fun !"
Johanne Defay (FRA) 19, places runner-up in Sopelana today. The talented natural footer dominated the entire event, and was in a spectacular form on this final day of the event, netting a near perfect 9.33 out of 10 in her semi-final bout. Unfortunately she committed an interference that cost her the win in the final.
"It was a weird situation and I think I just wanted to surf too much," Defay explained. "I saw the girls look at the left including Cannelle, but she wanted to go right from the start and was monitoring the other two surfers; I saw it too late and an interference was called."
Defay was in great form all week and started her final the best of ways with a 7.50 before that interference was called. Instead of letting stress or anger get in the way, Defay kept her composure and tried to find the best waves to better her scores and keep the lead. A fast dying swell didn't quite cooperate and she finally couldn't find the wave she needed.
"I didn't lose my focus when I heard about the interference and I think it shows I'm a lot stronger mentally than the previous years which is a good thing. Those things happen and the other girls ripped in the final so congrats to them. It just makes for a better title race and more suspense so all good !"
Local surfer Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) places third for the second consecutive time and solidifies her position on the rankings, netting a great result in front of her family and friends. Surprise came from Portuguese young surfer Camilla Kemp who fought her way into the final and takes home an excellent fourth place finish for her first event.
The 2013 Sopelana Pro Junior was scheduled from July 25-28, 2013 at Playa de Sopelana, Euskadi - Basque Country. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to aspeurope.com/sopelana2013.
The Sopelana Pro Junior is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Peña Txuri Surf Eskola, Ayuntamiento de Sopelana, Euskadi Turismo, Diputacion Foral Vizcaya, Surfing Euskadi-Basque Country, Red Bull, Bar El Peñon, Euskal Herriko Surf Federazioa, Bizkaiko Surf Federazioa amongst others.