Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana ON
Sopelana, Basque Country, Spain (Thursday, July 28, 2011) - The ASP 1-Star Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana ran through to complete two rounds of men's competition in minimal 2ft conditions which improved during the afternoon with the push of the incoming tide. Europe's best under-21 athletes battled it out in highly tactical heats where wave selection and positioning played an increased role in deciding today's heat winners.
The Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana provides crucial points for all surfers wishing to build on their rankings towards qualifying for the ASP World Junior Series which kicks off on October 3, in Bali Indonesia. Surfers are also out to lay claims on the added prize purse of 2000 Euros up for grabs offered by Surfing Euskadi for the overall best performer in both men's and women's divisions at the Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana and last week's San Sebastian Pro Junior.
Thomas La Fonta (Bidart, FRA) 20, advanced through to Round Three with solid wins in both his appearances to carry on his recent good form in the ASP Europe Pro Junior series. The strong natural-footer locked in a combination of crisp backhand turns to secure an 8.33 out of 10 and compile a two-wave heat total of 15.00, the highest of the event.
"It was a really good heat for me. I am focused and I got that left and I finished the wave well and got the score. There are small waves but they are good with lefts and rights. I have a good board for these conditions and I have no pressure so all is cool."
La Fonta, currently ranked nº54 on the ASP Europe Pro Junior rankings, has been building on his seed points towards next year's series. Despite a mixture of late entries and a low ranking from 2010 La Fonta has shown his ability to climb the rankings ladder in the second half of the season.
"I have done Reunion Island and San Sebastian pro juniors but I didn't go to the other events so here I am in the first round and looking to do my best. I am through two rounds today and it is good. I don't mind because I have been surfing and eating good food and here is like San Sebastian so the beach breaks are suited to my surfing."
Mikel Zamakona (Bakio, EUK) 17, competing in first Pro Junior event for 2011, came out on top in a hotly contested clash when he latched on to the best waves of the heat and made the most of his good fortune to rack up a combined heat total of 12.83 out of 20.
"There was a bit of pressure out in the water but I was lucky and a couple of lefts came through and I scored a couple of 6-point rides so yes, I am very happy to get through that heat. I felt good in the water and now on high tide there are some nice peaks so it isn't too bad at all. The lefts are sitting up with more wall to work with so that was the idea I went out with at the start of the heat. I was on the peak on my own when those lefts came in so I was lucky for sure."
Zamakona, local of nearby Bakio beach, is back in action after a recent illness forced him out of last week's event and is fully aware of the tricky conditions and varying peaks at Sopelana where his local knowledge proved invaluable today.
"I know this beach really well and I want to get going again after being sick for the previous contest. I hope to finish the pro junior series and see how I go in the rest of them."
Louca Jourdan (MTQ) 17, finished strongly to advance through to Round Three and face the events top seeds. Improving in this his second ASP Europe Pro Junior, the talented goofy footer is out to gain as much competitive experience as possible during his short visit to mainland Europe.
"I finished first in my heat which is good for me because there were not a lot of waves and the level of surfers was very high. I chose some good waves and scored a 5.5 and a 4.5 so I got through first in some tough conditions today. I competed last week and made it into the second round and here I am through to the third round so I am pleased."
A first call at 07h30 will be made for both men and women at the main event site of Sopelana beach where event officials will decide on the running order of the day depending on the increase in swell which is expected to enter overnight.
The Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana has LIVE scores and all results, daily news, photos and images log-on to www.aspeurope.com
Source: ASP Europe
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