LA CICER, Gran Canaria (Saturday, May 19, 2012) ? Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) just won the ASP 3-star Gran Canaria Santa Pro Junior at Playa de la Cicer, Las Palmas – Gran Canaria. The defending champion re-claimed his crown today in fantastic fashion, dominating the final against Vicente Romero from Spain.
Last year’s ASP Europe ranked 3rd surfer takes an early lead on the 2012 Title race and will have a great advantage with his win today. At only 18 years old, Ribeiro who already proved himself on the international stage, becomes the European force to reckon with. Starting his final bout with a 7.67 as a first wave, Ribeiro took a lead that he never let go over Vicente Romero.
“I knew it was going to be a tough heat, he (Vicente Romero) was probably the best surfer in this whole event” Ribeiro said. “I got lucky this first wave came to me, and from them I just kept getting waves and he didn’t. I’m super happy to win this important event !”
Winning his second Gran Canaria Santa Pro Junior in a row, Vasco Ribeiro keeps the Portuguese legacy alive in the Canarian archipelago. For the last three years, Portuguese riders have dominated the event and showed that Portugal is great talent pool for European up-and-comers.
“All the Portuguese think there’s something special between us and the Canary Islands because two years ago Filipe Jervis another Portuguese won here, and then last year I won so everybody’s pushing so we win it all here ! I’m just stoked and I want to congratulate Vicente who surfed incredible !”
Asked on his plans for the 2012 European season, Vasco Ribeiro stays humble and appreciates the general level that European Juniors have reached. With more and more surfers emerging from the old continent proving themselves on the World Junior Championships, the level has incontestably stepped up and the European Title race only just started.
“I think it’s going to be the hardest season for sure because all the guys are ripping like Ramzi (Boukhiam), Frederico (Morais), Dimitri (Ouvre) and Vicente” stated Ribeiro. “It’s going to be really hard to win another event this year but I’m going to try and keep pushing myself and perform at my best level. I’m also going to try to do a few Star Events to gain points and get some experience against older surfers.”
Vicente Romero (ESP) 19, has seemed unstoppable up until the final heat of the event but unfortunately didn’t manage to find the rare opening shoulders to display his aerial skills against Vasco Ribeiro.
“I was feeling excellent but in the beginning of the heat Vasco opened with a really good wave and I felt like it was already over. I got the priority and waited for a long time but never got the wave I needed” Romero said. “I eventually found it with 2 minutes remaining in the heat, I did a good air but came up just short of the score I needed.”
The talented natural footer who’s riding a stickerless board, has been trying to prove all week that he’s at the Top European level. Romero, who has surfed on the South-American Junior tours for the last few years, comes back to his roots in Europe and deserves all the attention he’s getting, for he is the best single wave scorer of the week and a multiple resident on the Top 5 best heat totals of the event.
“I felt really confident and of course sometimes a little luck helps but I’ve worked hard to get there and I’m happy all of that work pays off. This was definitely the most important event of the year because of the 3-Star and because it was my first. Now I’ll just keep training and working and hoping for one spot better in the next one !”
In the first semi-final against Romero, Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) was stopped despite incredible efforts to score big using his full progressive repertoire of surfing. Already established in the European Top 5 last year, Ouvre has a clear goal this year to take his young career to the next level.
“I wanted to win off course but a good result is a start my main goal being qualification for the World Juniors to have the opportunity to show what I can do in good waves” Ouvre said. “To be able to surf against the best in the world and on some of the best waves would be great. I’m stoked even if the winner here is getting a huge advantage I’m confident for the rest of the year. My plan is to continue the Pro Juniors obviously to reach the qualification, and I’ll also surf the Star events. I missed the first event this year due to a shoulder injury and I preferred to travel to Bali to try and heal it properly and enjoy surfing again.”
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 19, was the other 3rd place finisher today in Gran Canaria. After an impeccable run throughout the event, the Moroccan couldn’t match Vasco Ribeiro’s momentum on route to victory. Ramzi Boukhiam will now regroup and focus on the upcoming events of the ASP Europe Junior Series to try and reclaim one of the coveted spots on the World Junior Tour.
The 2012 Gran Canaria Santa Pro Junior is scheduled from May 16-20 at La Cicer, Gran Canaria / Canary Islands. For more information, and all results, photos, video highlights, and press releases log-on to www.grancanaria.aspeurope.com\
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The Gran Canaria Santa Pro Junior is made possible with the support of the following event partners: La Santa Surf, the Consejería de Turismo del Gobierno de Canarias, the Patronato de Turismo del Cabildo de Gran Canaria, the Concejalía de Turismo del Ayuntamiento de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the Hotel Best Western Cantur. Also an extended thanks to Halcón Viajes, Armas, InterSport, Café Central y Oceanside, Cajasiete amongst others.
GRAN CANARIA SANTA PRO JUNIOR FINAL
1 - Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 14.44 2 – Vicente Romero (ESP) 13.53
GRAN CANARIA SANTA PRO JUNIOR SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Vicente Romero (ESP) 14.17 def. Dimitri Ouvre (GLP) 9.67 SF 2: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 12.50 def. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.00