GIJON, Asturias â€“ Spain (Saturday, August 3, 2013) - The ASP 1-Star Men's and Women's Gijon Pro Junior was completed today at the secondary location of Salinas crowning Nomme Mignot (FRA) and Johanne Defay (FRA) as first ever Gijon Pro Junior Champions ! Competitors were greeted with fun 2Ft surf today in Salinas allowing the event to enter its final day.
Nomme Mignot (FRA) 16, almost didn't make it to the final but managed to squeeze out of a tough semi-final where the first three surfers were all within half a point. The final was a totally different story though, with Mignot exploiting perfectly the long lefthanders on offer at high tide. The young French drew first blood with a 7.33 in the opening minutes of the exchange and spent a long while trying to back-up his first excellent score. He finally caught another great looking left on which he performed two radical turns and a big air-reverse to score a 7.10 and seal the deal.
"I'm so happy right now, it's my second final and first big win !" Mignot said. "This victory is for my familly, parents and brother and all the team at Billabong including Richard our coach and all the surfers ! Diego won at Sopelana and now me, I'm just over the moon !"
In an exciting final where all four surfers were potentially capable of taking the lead with a single big score, Mignot kept his composure and didn't let the pressure get the better of him when it mattered the most. With all his teammates cheering him on the sand and along the beach walk at Salinas, Mignot found the resources to focus and sit patiently waiting for the perfect wave to build his scoreboard.
"We're such a good team with all the guys from Billabong, we're having so much fun everywhere we go, it really takes your mind off of the pressure of competing and I'm stoked to have all them backing me, it's like in a national selection. I almost didn't make it through a heat before and to make it and win the final it's unbelievable ! I want to say hi to everybody in my village in Mexico too they've helped me make it to where I am today."
Miguel Blanco (PRT) 17, places runner-up in his first final ever of an ASP Pro Junior event and despite having the sour feeling of losing out on the best place, reflects on a great event in his young career.
"I really wanted to win this one !" Blanco said. "Today I had to surf a board I wasn't used to in the quarters and semis, but then in the final it felt alright. I felt great, I had a good wave and just needed another one, but I couldn't find it."
Blanco did indeed surf an excellent wave at the start of the heat, a long lefthander that allowed him for six big turns all the way to the beach, scored 7.43 by the judges, the highest scoring ride in this final. Part of the new generation of up-and-comers hailing from Portugal, Blanco affirms himself as a favourite for a future potential Portuguese title.
"Portuguese surfers are definitely coming up ! We are training really hard, you know there's a feeling that Portugal is a bit aside from mainland Europe not like France and Spain that are right in the middle of the scene, and it seems like the results are starting to show so that's great. We also have huge inspirations with Tiago Pires who's the only Portuguese surfer to ever qualify on the WCT and also Frederico Morais that surfs great on the Star tour, that's the way I hope I'm heading."
Jorgann Couzinet (REU) places third having led the final for a few minutes, he only needed a 7.50 to win it all, a score he was well capable of attaining. Couzinet tried to throw a hail mary air reverse but unfortunately couldn't complete his manoeuver. Fellow Reunion Island surfer Ugo Robin (FRA) had a difficult time trying to keep his momentum going into the final despite displaying excellent skills on the way there. He ends up with a satisfying fourth place and will move up the European ladder.
In the women's, history repeated itself with three of the finalists Johanne Defay (FRA), Cannelle Bulard (REU) and Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) making their third final in a row, and it was Johanne Defay (FRA) 19, that claimed the win for the second time this season. Defay was a clear favourite having posted the highest scores the entire event and keeping her focus all the way until the end of the very last heat.
The final started with Defay and Bulard catching the same wave, Defay to the right and Bulard to the left, but it was once again Defay that took the advantage with her powerful and flawless frontside approach, rewarded with an 8.17 to start things up. Another wave for Defay, but this time on her backside allowed her to make two big turns including a huge closeout blast to net another excellent 7.50 and take the lead. Bulard never recovered from this second assault and Defay wins the event.
"I'm super stoked with my time here in Gijon, we had fun waves all event and I'm so happy I didn't repeat last time's mistake !" Defay said. "It looks like it's going to be a similar battle with Cannelle and Leticia all the way til the end of the season so I'm looking forward to surf against them again and Leticia just told us coming in from the water that she really wanted to win one too so it should be interesting ! There's a cool vibe with all of us in the water and I really enjoyed that final."
A methodical Defay kept her focus on the task at hand and analysed the conditions perfectly today, sitting in the best place out in the lineup and catching the best waves of the day. With her extensive knowledge and experience of competition on the International tours, Defay seemed untouchable today and adds yet another event win to an already long list of past successes.
Cannelle Bulard (REU) 19, grabs second place today and stays in striking distance of Defay in the run for another European Junior crown. Bulard momentarily led the final with a couple of good scores but never managed to find that one big opening wave that gave her a potential great score.
"I actually liked that final better than the one I won !" Bulard admitted. "I had some fun waves and I'm super happy to be in that battle with Johanne. I'm super stoked to have come here, it's one of the best events I've had the place is so cool ! I think what I was missing there was a good righthander, I know I can score better on my backside but despite looking hard for one I never found it."
Behind Defay and Bulard, Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK) and Ainara Aymat (EUK) had a tough time trying to catch up with the Frenchies. The two Basque surfers were in excellent form and displayed a very high standard of surfing throughout the whole event but just didn't catch the right waves in the final, exchanging medium scores on smaller rides. Canales does solidifies her third position on the rankings and seems ready to step-in when the occasion presents itself.
The inaugural ASP 1-Star Gijon Pro Junior finished as another exciting stop on the Junior series and never before has the Men's title race seem so tight. The next event in Lacanau for the Juniors starts next week and we're looking forward to see Europe's best under-20 surfers fight it out in great conditions.
The 2013 Gijon Pro Junior was scheduled from August 1-4, 2013 at playa de San Lorenzo, Gijon, Asturias-Spain. For all results, photos, video highlights, press releases and LIVE webcast, log on to aspeurope.com/gijon2013.
The ASP 1-Star Men and Women's Gijon Pro Junior is made possible with the support of the following event partners: El Corte Inglés, Vodafone yu, Liberbank, Gijon Surf Club, Slash Surf School Gijon, Gam Eventos, Ayto Gijon and la Direccion General de Deportes del P.A. amongst others.