GRANDE PLAGE, Lacanau / France â€“ The Lacanau Pro Junior completed another day of competition, advancing through the top seeds' Round in wind-affected, two-to-three-foot surf before strong winds forced event officials to call it a day.
Stop No. 3 of 4 in the European Pro Junior Series, this event plays a crucial role in the hunt for the regional title as well as determining the qualifiers for the coveted World Junior Championships.
Timothee Bisso (GLP) 17, Soöruz team rider and winner of the previous junior event in Sopela, had a great start to his Lacanau campaign. He advanced in first position with a solid heat total of 15.50.
â€œI feel good, I've been training here in Lacanau for a week and a half now,â€ Bisso said. â€œI think I have the spot dialed and I'm stoked to start like this, hopefully I can keep the same rhythm going in the event.â€
Currently ranked third regionally, Bisso will need to prove himself against some top international Juniors to reach the final stages in the event and keep his European Title race alive.
â€œIt's cool to have some ASP Qualification Series (QS) surfers come compete in the Juniors here,â€ he continued. â€œIt's a great indication of what the required level is on the QS and it's what we're all aiming for. It pushes everyone to up their game so it's a great thing.â€
Tom Cloarec (FRA) 20, broke the 9-point barrier in Round 3 with a clean tailslide reverse in the power section of the wave, followed by a succession of turns all the way to the beach.
â€œI was super nervous, for the first half of the heat I didn't have a single score,â€ Cloarec stated. â€œI got a first little wave that got my confidence level back up and scored that fun one right after.â€
A deceiving start to his 2014 campaign sees the young Frenchman sit in 15th position on the rankings before Lacanau. With only two events remaining in his last season among the Juniors, Cloarec is committed to finish strong and climb back up the European ladder.
â€œI think my wave selection and peak control has been off so far this season, and that explains my poor results,â€ Cloarec commented. â€œI have to be more relaxed and have more fun surfing. My last good result here was five years ago, so I have to change that!â€
Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 19, current leader of the European Junior series, waisted no time to launch his campaign, taking a commanding lead in Heat 8 of the third round.
â€œWaves are really fun and I've been training a lot since Sopela,â€ Ribeiro said. â€œI was here a couple days early and am comfortable in the lineup, my board goes well so it's all going great so far.â€
On the rebound from an unusually early exit in the previous, Basque Country event, with a win under his belt Ribeiro will now try to build momentum and collect the most ranking points again to solidify his lead.
â€œI felt I had everything in my power to do good in Sopela,â€ Ribeiro explained. â€œBut the waves were really tricky and I couldn't find the scores I needed. I'm still feeling great, so I'm keeping my head down and trying to do my best every heat. I haven't changed a whole lot. I still surf the same against everyone, internationals or not.â€
France's Andy Criere (FRA) 19 won his second heat of the event moving into the fourth round and building momentum along the way. Fresh off a solid fourth place in Sopela, Criere wants to assert his position amongst the top surfers on the Old Continent.
â€œMy first two heats went well, there's always a little more pressure here in Lacanau, so I'm happy to have a good start,â€ he said. â€œToday was pretty hard, conditions have changed drastically since this morning and it wasn't easy to adapt.â€
The polished backhand of Criere allowed him to score in the excellent range despite the wind-affected peaks on offer on the rising tide.
â€œI'm stoked to have selected the good rights out there and I was able to stick with them into the inside.â€ he added. â€œThe quick changes here between different tides are what we're mostly known for. I've surfed at two extreme times, full low tide and almost high tide, so I'm starting to see the big picture and am able to adapt.â€
Competitors and organizers will reassess conditions Monday morning at 8 AM/local time again for the final day of competition at the ASP 1-Star Lacanau Pro Junior. Up first will be Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Imanol Yeregi (EUK), Nomme Mignot (FRA) and Ariihoe Tefaafana (PYF) when the event resumes.