LACANAU OCEAN – Pauline Ado (Hendaye, FRA), 18, and Charles Martin (GLP), 18, have won the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior in France, respectively in the men’s and women’s division, finishing atop an international field over 150 competitors to raise the coveted trophy in front of a massive crowd. Ado and Martin, who had to get through several heats today to reach the final encounters in their respective divisions, showed their strong abilities in the tricky two foot (0.5 meter) waves on offer to oust event favorites en route to victory.
Martin, who is considered one of the best European surfers of the new generation coming out of France, claimed his second ASP Pro Junior title at Lacanau, where he was a runner-up in 2008. Facing other favorites Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 19, and Wiggoly Dantas (BRA), 19, as well as Oakley rider and underdog Tom Cloarec (Capbreton, FRA), 15, Martin kept his unstoppable form throughout the 30-minute decider.
“Winning this event is exactly what I wanted coming here,” Martin said. “I haven’t won an event in a year and the Oakley Pro Junior was a main goal for me this year as it puts me back in the ratings’ race and gives me that ticket for the Oakley Global challenge.”
Martin, whose win today rockets him to No. 4 on the ASP European Junior ratings, will be a favorite when he heads back to Hossegor for the next event and tries and confirm his favorite status.
“It was a close heat and a tough finish with an amazing level,” Martin said. “Joan (Duru) is a good friend of mine and he’s ripping on the WQS at the moment so It’s just perfect for me to get that wildcard into the main event starting tomorrow. This win here is just perfect on all sides and I will enjoy a good party tonight.”
Martin was awarded a wildcard into the ASP WQS 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro thanks to his win in the Oakley Pro Junior and will face current ASP World Tour surfer Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 25, in the first heat when Round 2 of competition resumes.
Ado, who claimed her second consecutive Oakley Pro Junior at Lacanau today, offered the crowds an intense battle coming back from fourth to first in the last two minutes of the final after scoring two excellent scores back-to-back to win the event. Besting local favorite and ratings’ No. 5 Justine Dupont (Lacanau, FRA), 17, freshly crowned 2009 ASP European Women’s junior champion Johanne Defay (REU), 15, and South Africa’s wunderkind Bianca Buitendag, Ado showed she was back to competition in a promising form.
“I am just over the moon right now,” Ado said. “It is my first event this year on the regional pro junior tour and I never thought I would get that win for the second time in a row. The heat was so hard and I thought I wouldn’t be able to get back ahead. Seeing the others get the good waves was very frustrating and it gave me the motivation to surf at my best and win.”
Ado, who has had a busy year graduating from high school and starting her ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) career, impressed with her mental strength and surfing ss to grab her first win this year with the event’s highest heat score of 15.96 points (out of a possible 20) since becoming the ASP Women’s World Junior Champion last January.
“It’s a great confidence boost for me and I am going to ask for a wildcard for the next ASP WJC,” Ado said. “It’s been a very busy year but things have gone my way and it makes that win even sweater.”
Johanne Defay (REU), 15, became the youngest surfer to claim the ASP European Women’s Junior title after placing 3rd in the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior today. Defay, who finished her 2009 campaign with a third final in four events, showed she was the most consistent competitor this year and will represent ASP Europe in the ASP Women’s World Junior Championships (WJC) at Narabeen next January along with regional No. 2 Alizee Arnaud (Hossegor, FRA).
“It’s pretty unbelievable to win the title,” Defay said. “I never thought of that before coming to Europe and starting touring but it appeared more and more makeable and I am so happy to grab that crown. I made three finals in four events, the waves were tough today and I am not really at ease in small conditions so I couldn’t do any better. It’s been a very close race and I am glad to finish on top of the ratings.”
Defay, who raised her regional title trophy in front of a massive and cheering crown, will be much expected for her first appearance in the ASP Women’s WJC, the Reunion island born surfer having the ss to cause some upset if the swell offers consistency.
“I am stoked to get that spot into the WJC in January,” Defay said. “I’ve been there already but never as a competitor and it’s going to be hard, but it’s great to become part of that lucky pack and get a chance to surf with the world’s best Under-21 female surfers.”
ASP Grade-2 OAKLEY PRO JUNIOR RESULTS
1 - Charles Martin (GLP), 13.43 pts
2 - Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), 10.74 pts
3 - Tom Cloarec (FRA), 7.03 pts
4 - Joan Duru (FRA), 6.85 pts
1 - Pauline Ado (FRA), 15.96 pts
2 - Justine Dupont (FRA), 12.84 pts
3 - Johanne Defay (REU), 11.94 pts
4 - Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 9.33 pts