Vans Pro Junior San Sebastian to Welcome ASP Europe's Best Junior Surfers

SAN SEBASTIAN, Euskadi – The Vans Pro Junior, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-1 men and women’s event, will start Thursday, July 23, in San Sebastian, a renowned city of the Basque Country just across the French border for another action packed four-day waiting period. With current regional ratings’ leaders all confirmed to attend the popular contest, the show promises to bring some intense battles as the race for the prestigious ASP European Junior crown heats up.

Current ratings’ No. 1 Joachim Guichard (Algarve, DEN), 20, has already confirmed his presence in the Vans Pro Junior, and the young man will be looking forward to extend his lead over other favorites when he paddles out for his start in Round 3, along with the event’s top seeds. Guichard, whose twin brother Luka will be another serious threat as he sits No. 5 currently on the regional ratings, started the year with a runner-up finish in Portugal behind Vans Pro Junior defending champion and favorite Marc Lacomare (Capbreton, FRA), 18, and will try and confirm his excellent form in San Sebastian to secure a confident lead before heading into August and its major events.

Lacomare, Vans Pro Junior top seed this year, has already made his intentions clear towards a first regional ASP Junior crown this after dominating the first event of the year last April in Portugal, an ASP Grade-2 rated contest. At 18-years-old only, Lacomare remains one of France’s best hopes towards a possible ASP World Tour qualification in the upcoming years and has already started touring on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) but the regional junior crown is a priority for the Capbreton resident.

Along with France’s representatives will be the rising generation of Basque surfers, the solid contingent looking to shine at its home spot of San Sebastian where massive summer crowds will be watching their representatives. With Jatyr Berasaluce (Sopelana, EUK), 20, leading the charge with his current No. 6 rank and a surprising but nonetheless solid Mario Azurza (Zarautz, EUK) slowly stepping-up against Europe’s best to start the Vans Pro Junior ranked No. 4 on the regional ratings, the Basque team will be much expected to perform in front of its home crowds.

The women’s division will host an elite field of Under-21 competitors with reigning ASP European Women’s Junior champion and current ratings’ leader Alizée Arnaud (Hossegor, FRA), 18, ready to commit another hold-up and take a second consecutive win this year. Arnaud, who claimed the ASP Grade-1 event in Portugal at the ning of the month, will be focused on another win in San Sebastian to try and hold back the new generation’s assault led by an impressive Joanne Defay (REU) who will be the number one threat her quest.

With Basque favorite Garazi Sanchez (EUK) and rising local competitors Idoia Meabe (EUK) as well as the Canales sisters Loiola and Leticia, the battle of nations will be keep the crowds excited while competitors battle for valuable ratings’ points. The Women’s event of the Vans Pro Junior is at the halfway-mark of the season, meaning a big result in San Sebastian will be a solid step towards the crown and the coveted ratings’ end-of-the year Top 2 giving a berth into the 2009 Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.