CAPBRETON, France – The official crowning of the 2009 ASP European champions took place Friday night at the famous Rock Food in Hossegor, France, in front of representatives from the surfing industry, media and events that have once again supported the tour for an exceptional season.
Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, who got back from Hawaii a week ago, raised his first ASP European Champion trophy sealing an exceptional year that saw the Frenchman clinch the two French events on the ASP European WQS Tour (Protest Vendee Pro and Sooruz Lacanau Pro) and win his maiden regional title with almost a thousand points’ lead.
“It’s been such a great year for me and I am really proud to win the regional title,” Duru said. “Winning at Lacanau in front of all my family and friends as well as the huge supporting crowds will remain one of the best moments of my career.”
Duru, who will compete in the upcoming ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) at Narabeen, Sydney in Australia, is enjoying a small break after an intense finish and an unfortunate equal 15th place on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) missing out his qualification for the 2010 ASP World Tour by one spot.
“I’d like to thank all event organizers for putting-up such a great tour in 2009,” Duru said. “ We got good waves at almost all events in 2009 and special thanks to the ASP Europe as well for their work in managing the circuit.”
With the 2009 ASP European Women’s champion Lee-Ann Curren (Biarritz, FRA) not able to attend the ceremony, the Under-21 division champions followed Duru on stage to receive their respective trophies.
Johanne Defay (REU), 15, received the prestigious ASP European Women’s Junior Champion from the hands of ASP Europe President David Mailman, the young woman being the youngest surfer ever to win the regional division. Defay, who travelled to France from Reunion Island before heading to Australia where she will compete in the ASP Women’s World Junior Championships (WWJC), was cheered by the audience including her family and coach.
“It’s really a great thing to win that title and I am super happy to be here,” Defay said. “Along with this title comes the entry for the world juniors and that’s what I am focused on already. I hope I can represent Europe well for my first appearance at Narabeen. Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me this year.”
Following Defay, local boy Marc Lacomare (Capbreton, FRA), 18, was awarded his 2009 ASP European Junior Champion trophy, the renowned goofy-foot competitor raising the prestigious ASP cup in front of his family and friends.
Lacomare, who impressed at all levels this year on both the junior tour and the WQS stage, should be travelling at all ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events in 2010 to build his experience and follow the footsteps of fellow European contingent leader Duru.
“This season was exciting and it’s pretty cool to get the trophy,” Lacomare said. “I won the first event in Portugal but my best memory remains my win at Hossegor in great waves with all the support of my family and friends at the beach. That was very special and I thank all my sponsors for their great support.”
Lacomare will be flying the ASP Europe flag along with seven other representatives at Narabeen next January in the men’s division and hopefully the 18-year-old athlete betters his result from last year, an impressive equal 3rd place finish.
Wrapping-up the show while the Rock Food was getting in motion, ASP Europe President David Mailman congratulated the regional champions thanking the work of all event organizers who keep supporting the sport by their efforts and love of the sport, the ASP European Tour being one of the strongest regional circuits in the world.
“Most of our events had great waves in 2009 and even if there isn’t much we can do about it, let’s say that all the work and efforts of our organizers, staff and surfers to put on a show at each event has been rewarded,” Mailman said. “We thank everyone for their commitment to the tour.”