CAPBRETON, France (Friday, July 27, 2012) - Vicente Romero (ESP) and Cannelle Bulard (REU) have claimed the ASP 1-Star Billabong Sopelana Pro Junior Titles today in 2-3Ft surf at the main beach of Sopelana, Basque-Country. Quarterfinals started early this morning on the incoming tide and conditions gradually improved during the day, before the wind started affecting the lineup for the finals.
Vicente Romero (ESP) 19, consecutively won six heats to come out the 2012 Billabong Sopelana Pro Junior Champion. Romero was the most consistent throughout these two days of competition, regularly posting scores in the excellent range despite complicated conditions like in the final.
“I live here so I know the place and the waves really well” an ecstatic Romero said. “I’ve just tried to do my best again, and with confidence and a good board I feel like everything went my way. Without sponsors I need money to survive the tour and results like this will help for sure.”
After a second place in the opening event of the season in Canary Islands, and a 9th place in Royan earlier this month, this win in Sopelana allows Vicente Romero to overtake Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) and take the pole position in this year’s European Junior Championship race.
“The season is not over yet, Galicia is a really important event next week so I’ll need to really focus for this comp, I’m going back to training and I’ll just try my best once again in the next events.”
Mihimani Braye (PYF) 16, in his inaugural European Junior season, took the runner-up position behind Romero today. The young polynesian in his second event only, demonstrated amazing skills from the earlier rounds of competition and managed to defeat more experienced competitiors on the way leading up to the final.
“It was a really tough final with some very good surfers, and especially with the wind that came up strong in the last heats,” Braye said. “Vicente surfed really well and he found the best waves so congrat’s he diserved the win here. I still had some fun waves so I’m happy with this result!”
With this second place today, Braye jumps in the 29th position on the regional rankings and will head towards the last two events of the season with a new status of a threatening outsider. Surfing blank boards due to lack of sponsorship, Braye just like Romero, sends a statement to the industry that he’s a Junior to count on for the future.
“I’ve won the Tahitian Junior Title this year so this is not my first competitions, and I’ve also entered some events in Australia in the Under-16 divisions. I’m here in Europe for the remainder of the season, I initially came because I have no sponsors and I wanted to make a good impression here. I’m not really concerned with the rankings because it’s only my first year so we’ll see about that later !”
Cannelle Bulard (REU) 18, won the women’s division after successfully winning her quarter-final and semi-final heats this morning. The young Reunion Island born surfer had control over the low scoring final managing to find the best waves and keep her opponents off them.
“It was really complicated,” Bulard said. “I was lucky enough to find a good righthander that scored over the average, and then I was just struggling and paddling everywhere to try and find the good ones. It was really close when Maud (Le Car) got that wave in the end, but she didn’t get the score so I’m stoked with this win!”
After a late season deception last year where she saw her dream of participating in the World Junior Championships dissapear following an early loss, Cannelle Bulard is now sitting second on the European rankings and is virtually the first qualifier for 2012. Despite the excitement of today’s victory, Bulard keeps her head in the game and knows it takes consistance to be there at the end of the year.
“I haven’t had the best of luck at Lacanau, the last event of the season, so basically I’m taking it event by event and we’ll see what happens when the season is over!”
Maud Le Car (FRA) 20, placed second in Sopelana today netting another excellent result to her already bright 2012 season. The young french competitor has climbed up to the third spot on the European Junior rankings and now eyes her second consecutive World Junior Championships qualification if she continues throughout the last two events of the season.
“I’ve had trouble finding the right waves in the finals so I’m a little dissapointed not to win, but there’s two more events so I’ll do my best there. My main objective is to qualify but the European Title is in the back of my mind so with the two events remaining everything’s possible!”
Garazi Sanchez Ortun (EUK) 20, was the local sensation today finishing at an excellent third place ahead of South-Africa’s Tanika Hoffman. Sanchez now sits 5th on the European rankings which confirms she’s in the top European performers this season.
The 2012 Billabong Sopelana Pro Junior is scheduled from July 26-29 in Sopelana. All results, photos, videos, and news are available through http://sopelana.aspeurope.com
To find out more, please visit www.aspeurope.com
The Billabong Sopelana Pro Junior is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Billabong, Peña Txuri Surf Eskola, El Correo, Sopelana Council, Euskal Herriko Surf Federazioa, Bizkaiko Surf Federazioa amongst others.