GRAN CANARIA, Canary Islands (Friday, May 13, 2011) – Round Three was completed today leaving the final 16 surfers to battle it out for this year’s ASP 3-Star Islas Canarias Santa Pro Junior title. Strong onshore winds abated offering clean 3ft (1m) peaks for some high performance displays of surfing by Europe’s best under-21 athletes at the main event site of La Cicer.
Surfers competing at the Islas Canarias Santa Pro Junior, event nº3 of 7 on the ASP European Pro Junior Series, are out to claim the valuable ranking points on offer at this 3-Star rated event and place themselves in the race for the overall European Pro Junior title and the chance to compete in the ASP World Junior Series starting in Bali, Indonesia on October 3, 2011.
It was fellow countrymen Miguel Blanco (PRT) 15, and Joao Kopke (PRT) 15 who stole the show today with their heart-stopping performances in Round Three of competition. Both youngsters scraped through in second position in their respective heats with only moments to spare.
Blanco, who made the quarter-finals last week in Somo Pro Junior, fought back after receiving an interference call earlier in the heat. Sitting in 4th position and needing a solid score, Blanco performed two backhand smashes on a critical left peak to secure a 5.90 out of 10 with under one minute remaining on the clock.
“I am really excited at the moment. I had an interference and I was needing a high 5 and I got a 5.90 on my last wave so I am really happy right now. My coach said that if you have a bad moment not to give up and just start from the beginning and it went well today for me.”
Joao Kopke (Estoril, PRT) 15, held off an inform Ander Mendiguren (Sopelana, EUK) 18, to advance behind fellow countryman Vasco Ribeiro (PRT). Kopke got off to a solid start and held his position for the majority of the encounter before Mendiguren got going and jumped into second place. In the final moments Kopke played his last card on a long right which Ribeiro could have taken. A combination of snaps locked in the modest score required to return to the second place.
“It was a tight heat for sure. I was sitting in second when Ander (Mendiguren) got a wave that put him ahead of me. In the end Vasco (Ribeiro) helped me to catch that right and I got in two turns and made it through so I’m stoked.”
Kopke, who suffers from tremendous nerve attacks before each heat, kept his cool during the entire clash and has started to work on his approach to competition to help overcome his major handicap.
“This is my best result so far actually. I have never got a big result surfing in the Pro Juniors because I always get so nervous but now I am realising that my surfing is not good when I am like that. I am still learning. I am not thinking too much about results and just concentrating on my surfing because that is the way to go. If I focus too much on the results I know I am not going to pass any heats.”
Top seed Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 17, easily advanced ahead of Jose Ferreira (PRT) 19, with both surfers finding the higher scoring potential waves both lefts and rights. Boukhiam who currently sits in 4th position on the ASP European Pro Junior rankings must continue his excellent form into the business end of competition if he is to remain in the hunt for the 2011 European Junior title.
“The conditions today are better today because there is no wind but it is still super slow and hard to surf so you have to get the big ones. I went out looking for the lefts and my trainer told me to wait for the set waves and that is what I did. With just two big turns you can get a score and on the smaller waves you might do 4 or 5 soft turns and get a 3.”
Pablo Pola (Hendaye, FRA) 19, advanced with one of his best performances of the year showing strength on his forehand and backhand. With a 6.33 to open his account Pola built on his backup score during the remainder of the heat to finish with a two-wave heat total of 11.23 out of 20 and a pass into Round Four.
“The waves are so difficult because there is not a lot of power so it is hard but if you find a good one it is easy to win your heat. I made my heat and I didn’t really worry too much. I am here to have fun and it is better if you surf to have fun instead of being so focussed for me. I had a big breakfast and it is better because it makes me stronger for my heat.”
Medi Veminardi (Saint-Leu, REU) 19, built on a slow start to capture two solid scores displaying his talents in the changing conditions. Power and speed were the trademarks of another professional performance by Veminardi as he goes one step closer to taking out the Islas Canarias Santa Pro Junior 2011.
“I didn’t get any waves at the start and Pablo (Pola) had the only wave of the heat. I didn’t stress and stuck to my game plan and it worked. I was definitely looking for rights and usually I score well on them but the lefts seemed to break a bit more often. I had a 6 on the left and a 6 on the right so I won’t change anything.”
Francisco Alves (PRT) 17, built on his scores during the entire heat to finish behind event favourite Dimitri Ouvre (BRB) who put in another dominating performance. Alves struggled to find a decent scoring ride and had to change tactics late in the clash to advance.
“At the beginning of the heats I never take good waves always at the final moments. I spend too much time waiting for waves and I need to start work on my heat earlier. I didn’t stress too much in the final moments and I got second so it is worth it.”
“I got to the Quarters in Reunion which was also a 3 Star so it would be nice to make the Quarters again or maybe even further,” continued Alves. “It is really tough but I will try my best and not wait for the bomb next time. I will just try and work my heat and we will see how it goes next time.”
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Upcoming Islas Canarias Santa Pro Junior Round Four Matchups
Heat 1: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Pablo Pola (FRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Miguel Blanco (PRT)
Heat 2: Medi Veminardi (REU), Joao Kopke (PRT), Nelson Cloarec (FRA), Jose Ferreira (PRT)
Heat 3: Tom Cloarec (FRA), William Aliotti (FRA), Dimitri Ouvre (BRB), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Angelo Bonomelli (ITA), Kieren Bulard (REU), Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), Francisco Alves (PRT)
Islas Canarias Santa Pro Junior Round Three Results
Heat 1: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.17, Joao Kopke (PRT) 8.10, Ander Mendiguren (EUK) 7.74, Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) 7.07
Heat 2: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 11.27, Jose Ferreira (PRT) 11.00, Diodo Appleton (PRT) 8.27, Hugo Debosc (FRA) 7.34
Heat 3: Medi Veminardi (REU) 13.50, Pablo Pola (FRA) 11.23, Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) 9.50, Alex Gironi (EUK) 9.37
Heat 4: Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 10.44, Miguel Blanco (PRT) 8.10, Ian Fontaine (FRA) 7.60, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 6.77
Heat 5: Tom Cloarec (FRA) 11.57, Kieren Bulard (REU) 10.27, Borja Agote (EUK) 7.53, Remi Petersen (NLD) 5.13
Heat 6: Dimitri Ouvre (BRB) 12.83, Francisco Alves (PRT) 9.10, Jules Thomet (FRA) 8.44, Ethan Egiguren (EUK) 4.00
Heat 7: Angelo Bonomelli (ITA) 11.60, William Aliotti (FRA) 10.70, Luis Eyre (GBR) 10.10, Charly Termeau (FRA) 6.87
Heat 8: Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 14.50, Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.70, Hugo Palmarini (REU) 7.54, Stuart Campbell (GBR) 5.23