CÃ”TE SAUVAGE, Royan - France (Friday, July 5, 2013) â€“ Competition resumed this morning in clean 2-3Ft surf completing the Men's third round before letting way to the Women's opening round. Competitors were greeted with beautiful lefts and righthanders and showed once again the incredible level of performance the youth of Europe is capable of.
Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) 19, was the strongest competitor in the men's field today, navigating through a tricky lineup and exploiting the rights to the fullest. Larsonneur started his heat with a solid 7.00 before paddling into a bigger set to explode multiple times on his fronthand and collect a near-perfect 9.50 to seal the deal.
"I took an option to sit out alone on a different bank and it paid off," Larsonneur stated. "This morning I noticed it was smaller so I changed boards and I was afraid it wouldn't work as well as the one I had yesterday but in the end it was great ! I'm super happy to surf at this level in an event."
Emerging from the closeby region of Britanny, Larsonneur felt at ease with the conditions reading perfectly the changing tide and chosing the right spot to sit out. A regular stand-out on the Junior events but still in need of a major result, Larsonneur will be trying to confirm in the quarters and make it to the final.
"It's definitely conditions that I'm used to surf at home at La Torche, we do get soft and windy summer swells like this so it resembles home and I'm happy to have made it. My best result was a fifth in Canarys and I'd like to get one better here for example."
Last year's runner up in the European Junior Title race Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 18, opened up the show this morning with a strong performance in the first heat. Despite coming out of a knee injury just a few weeks ago, the powerful regular footer managed to find the waves with the best scoring potential and was rewarded with an excellent 8.50 and 7.33.
"I've been injured and I didn't want to push it too hard, but this morning I was feeling really good." Ribeiro said. "Waves are really fun and I'm happy that Francisco found a score in the end too, I'm stoked I'll try to keep doing my best and we'll see how it goes."
Portuguese compatriot Francisco Alves (PRT) 20, was observing the heat for a long while, but managed to find a great little right in the dying moments and scored an 8.17 to squeeze into second and qualify along Ribeiro.
"This year I'm super focused again just like last year," Ribeiro said. "My goal is to win the European title, but the level is getting higher all the time and it's going to be really hard ! It's good for us though, we're all pushing each other to do our best surfing."
The women's round 1 started today following the completion of the men's and Cannelle Bulard (REU) 19, reigning European Junior Champion, started a strong Royan campaign with an impressive heat total of 16.67 out of a possible 20.
"I had so much fun in this heat !" Bulard said. "The other two girls stayed on the lefts and I focused on the rights and there were some really good ones. I'm not sure about the 9.17 but I surfed well and I'm happy the judges liked it. Last year was a lot more complicated with bad weather and I wasn't in very good form."
In her last year amongst the under-20 surfers, the Reunion Island born and bred surfer has already posted a couple excellent results in Australia earlier this season both in Junior and Star events and will be looking to confirm her status of frontrunner on the Old Continent.
"I'm just having fun, and seeing as this is my last year for sure I'd like to win the title again. My biggest threat this time will be Johanne and there's other girls coming up as well. The oldest girls are gone now and it feels strange to be the more experienced ones and with the new generation rising quick you got to adapt."
On the other side of the draw, Johanne Defay (FRA) 19, managed to get herself out of a tricky heat in difficult waves when the tide filled in. Defay was the first competitor to decide to move to a new bank where she found good little insiders to post solid scores on the board and earn her ticket for the quarters.
"The previous heat was way out the back to the south of the beach and we decided to move up north and I was lucky to find two good waves right at the start and they offered enough for me to get a couple good scores." Defay explained.
The former World Junior Title runner-up now eyes the European Junior crown for her last attempt at the under-20 category and will be one to reckon with when the event re-starts tomorrow. With a solid winter training on home grounds under her wings, Defay looked sharp in the Royan breaks.
"It's very different to the kind of surf I trained in this winter in Reunion Island but let's just say the shark threat in Royan is a lot less frightening ! I like it though here it's motivating to get out there, it changes all the time and it's a real challenge to adapt. This year is our last season for Cannelle and I so it's going to be tense but there are many other girls that rip at the moment, Lucia MArtino, Tessa Thyssen, Marion Bouzigues and Carina Duarte for example so it'll be an interesting title race !"
First call for the Men's and Women's quarter-finals will be made tomorrow morning at 9am with expected clean offshore 2-3Ft surf. The event is broadcasted LIVE via the event's website.
The Soöruz Pro Junior Royan Atlantique is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Soöruz, Agglomération Royan Atlantique, Conseil Régional de Poitou-Charentes, l'Office National des FÃ´rets, Pitel, Station Nautique Royan Atlantique, Virgin Radio, MAAF, and Fédération FranÃ§aise de Surf amongst others.