Marathon Opening Day at Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana.

SOPELANA - Basque Country/Spain - A total of 56 heats were completed today in a marathon session at The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana due to a poor swell forecast for the upcoming days. Event officials gathered early this morning knowing they had to make good use of the conditions which greeted the competitors of round one. With only 32 of the 128 who started the event the best was left for the last round of the day when on high tide the little running swell converged to form multiple 2-3ft (0.5-1m) waves to give competitors more than adequate conditions to vie for a place into the quarter-finals.

Emphasis was given to the men’s event in an attempt to complete the 128 man format over two days. With only 4 events on this year’s ASP Europe Pro Junior Men’s Series the chance of losing a result would be devastating for the overall series. Having one extra event this year the Nikita Girls Pro Junior Sopelana will get their chance tomorrow to take the stage as event officials are seriously considering the option of crowning both event champions tomorrow with the weekend offering very little opportunity for contestable conditions.

Having decided to enter the Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana at the last moment Charlie Martin (GLP) had to battle his way through 4 rounds against many of the topseeds to secure his spot in the final 16. Surfing with style and flair on both his forehand and backhand Martin scored a handful of excellent rides overall looking fast and sharp in his approach.

“I have done four heats today and it has helped me to get used to the wave and my board, chilli, which is going really good and the waves are hard but I still got some scores so I am happy”

“It is very physical out there in these kind of conditions on such long days with so many heats but I have just come back from Puerto Escondido where I surfed a lot and I feel good and having fun. Tomorrow it will be the same for everyone in the water so I just want to do my best and try to get the best waves which I think is the only thing that can really help you when it is like this to help you make the heat so I hope for the waves and try to surf them good and not fall off and maybe win the event or make some heats at least.”

Filipe Jervis (PRT) was another of the standout surfers with a powerful display of surfing and physical fitness winning his heats and first to qualify for the quarters. A former quarter-finalist here and having trained extensively leading up to this his final assault on the ASP Pro Junior Series Jervis has set goals and a sense that he can attain them.

“Last year I made the quarters as well but this year my goal is to go further because I have been training hard and trying some small wave boards for competitions and I have been training really hard this winter when I went to Hawaii then straight to Australia for 2 months working on my surfing and getting fit and working on getting good results this year on my last year as a junior so I am feeling great and my surfing is better than it has ever been so I want to keep going and at least make the top 10 on my last pro junior year.”

After such a gruelling day of competition the young Portuguese surfers knows that he is only half way there and that the job ahead is going to be equally tough.

“Now with the high tide it is a little bit better than in the morning when I had my first heat it was pretty hard now there are some waves out there and it is good fun actually. It feels awesome to be through to the quarter-finals so I am going to home and rest a little for tomorrow and hopefully make it through to the finals.”

Pierre-Valentin Laborde (Hossegor/FRA) 19, made the most of the scarce offerings during the morning session to come home strongly with a dominating performance in round four getting off to an early lead and keeping his opponents in check for the remaining minutes to advance. Somewhat of a small wave specialist Laborde has a full array of repertoire coming into events with these testing conditions.

“This heat was really good with conditions much more consistent with my first two waves a 5.5 and a 7.5 (out of a possible 10) so I am stoked to get through.”

“I have a new board here for small waves and it goes good,” explained Laborde. “I’m small and so I train in small waves which I think are better for me so in all conditions not only when it is perfect. These last days in Hossegor have been really small and I knew that at this contest it was going to be real small so it has worked well for me today.”

First-call will be at 7:30am (local time) for both men and women with a possible crowning of the Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana Champions if conditions avail.

There are four events on this year's ASP European Men's Junior Tour, each and every heat will be crucial towards the prestigious ASP European Junior Championship as well as the qualification for the ASP World Junior Tour, the year-end ratings' Top 4 securing their ticket for the two ASP Wold Junior title decider events in Bali and Australia.

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Heat 1: Filipe Jervis (PRT), Pablo Pola (FRA), Ian Fontaine (FRA), William Aliotti (FRA)
Heat 2: Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), Mario Azurza (EUK), Tom Cloarec (FRA), Marcos San Segundo (EUK)
Heat 3: Medi Vemenardi (REU), David Leboulch (FRA), Charles Martin (GLP), Edouard Delpero (FRA)
Heat 4: Igor Munian (EUK), Jose Ferreira (PRT), Jocelyn Poulou (PYF), Ramizi Boukiam (MAR)

Heat 1: Joanna Giansanti (FRA), Camille Davila (FRA), Virginia Giesen (DEU), Alizee Arnaud (FRA)
Heat 2: Fanny Brice (FRA), Loiola Canales (EUK), Raine Jackson (GBR), Elisa Bonomelli (ITA)
Heat 3: Ainara Aymat (EUK), Ana Morau (FRA), Kim Veteau (GLP), Yolanda Aneiros (ESP)
Heat 4: Joanne Defay (FRA), Marie Mitsuko Bochaton (FRA), Erika Franco (ESP)
Heat 5: Marie Dejean (FRA), Carina Duarte (PRT), Josephine Costes (FRA)
Heat 6: Maud Lecar (FRA), Ana Sarmento (PRT), Tessa Thyssen (GLP), Amaia Billecoq (FRA)
Heat 7: Garazi Sanchez (EUK), Lucia Martino (ESP), Marina Lopez (ESP)
Heat 8: Marion Bouzigues (FRA), Leticia Canales (EUK), Lisa Girardet (REU), Tassy Swallow (GBR)

Heat 1: Filipe Jervis (PRT) 11.80, Mario Azurza (EUK) 11.33, Kieren Bulard (REU) 8.90, Martin Dambreville (FRA) 8.80
Heat 2: Ian Fontaine (FRA) 10.73, Marcos San Segundo (EUK) 8.13, Luis Eyre (GBR) 6.00, Mikel Zamakona (EUK) 3.90
Heat 3: Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 13.00, Pablo Pola (FRA) 9.70, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 7.97, Lyndon Wake (GBR) 7.27
Heat 4: Tom Cloarec (FRA) 10.16, William Aliotti (FRA) 9.33, Toby Donachie (GBR) 8.97, Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 5.90
Heat 5: Medi Vemenardi (REU) 13.67, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 10.43, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 9.90, Remi Cordier (FRA) 8.84
Heat 6: Charles Martin (GLP) 13.67, Ramizi Boukiam (MAR) 11.54, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.06, Txaber Gaminde (EUK) 5.10
Heat 7: Igor Munian (EUK) 10.50, David Leboulch (FRA) 10.00, Demitri Ouvre (FRA) 7.97, Angelo Bonomelli (ITA) 7.48
Heat 8: Jocelyn Poulou (PYF) 9.93, Edouard Delpero (FRA) 9.54, Damien Chaudoy (REU) 9.50, Yann Guyonneau (FRA) 6.54