Ribeiro claims a historic ASP World Junior Title as the first Portuguese surfer to ever do so. Even more significant, he won the coveted trophy in his home country.
â€œI have no words to describe this moment, I just want to thank everyone who's been supporting me,â€ he said. â€œIt's been a long week, especially today I surfed four times. I think the Final was actually the heat I was less pressured, I just wanted to do good and I knew I had to post something big 'cause Italo is such a great surfer.â€
Ribeiro built momentum through the early rounds and put on his best performance in the Final to top Italo Ferreira (BRA) with an incredible 18.63 total. The young Portuguese up-and-comer, recently crowned ASP European Junior Champion, bested other event standouts including Joshua Moniz (HAW) and Deivid Silva (BRA) on his way to winning the event.
Runner-up today in Portugal, Ferreira put up a good fight but couldn't match Ribeiro's rhythm in the Final. He was eventually put in a combination situation from which he wouldn't recover. Currently World No. 8 on the QS rankings, he was on fire all week in Ericeira and notched another excellent result after his Quarterfinal in the Cascais Billabong Pro two weeks ago. Ferreira will head home full of confidence before the big QS showdown in Hawaii, where he will try to score enough points for a first-time ticket to the WCT.
â€œI'm super stoked with that second place, it was a great day of pumping waves again,â€ Ferreira said. â€œThis place is amazing and I loved it, surfing here was so sick on my backhand and congrats Vasco he really ripped. This was my last year in the Juniors, so now my focus will shift to the Prime in Brazil and Hawaii.â€
Maeda, meanwhile, concluded a successful Portuguese campaign with the ASP World Junior Title today, after consistently posting great scores to advance in first in all her matchups. At only 16, Maeda established her dominance in the Junior talent pool. She'll look to take her act to the next level on the QS tour next season.
â€œI can't believe it, I'm so stoked and beyond,â€ Maeda said. â€œWatching Ella (Williams) win last year, it gave me some confidence and the urge to win. I felt like I had the potential, but came here and surfed it heat by heat. Having everybody out there supporting me was just amazing.â€
Along with the prestigious title, Maeda will also receive a wildcard spot in the highest-seeded rounds of all the major QS events in 2015, potentially easing her campaign for a Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour qualification.
Guadeloupe's Tessa Thyssen (GLP) 17, who also won the ASP European Junior series this season, led the regional contingent with a firm grip on the competition. Unfortunately, she couldn't find her rhythm in the tricky conditions in the Final. Runner-up at Ribeira D'Ilhas, however, Thyssen result is impressive for her first time competing in the World Junior Championships.
â€œOverall I feel amazing because this event's been great for me, but I'm a little bit disappointed about that Final obviously,â€ Thyssen admitted. â€œCongrats Mahina, she's been on fire here and really deserves the win. I think I'll go bother her in Hawaii this winter and surf good waves. I put a little too much pressure on myself in the final and the conditions weren't easy, but that's okay. I'll focus on the QS next year I think, I really want to go further and keep improving.â€
Local hero Tomas Fernandes (PRT), 18, came extremely close to making an all-Portuguese Final when he had Ferreira against the ropes in the final moments of their Semifinal matchup. But the talented Brazilian came back firing, and stopped Fernandes from making his first Final on the World Junior stage. Fernandes pushed his performance level this week and will be one to look out for in the coming seasons.