CÔTE SAUVAGE, Royan – France (Sunday, 15 July, 2012) – Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 18, and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 18, have won the Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior titles in punchy 3-4ft peaks at the main event site of the Côte Sauvage. A spectacular finals day unfolded with Europe’s finest Pro Junior surfers thrilling the crowds with their powerful and innovative surfing.
The Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior forms part of a crucial series of Pro Junior events being staged in Europe over the upcoming weeks culminating in August with the crowning of the ASP Europe Pro Junior Champions.
Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) saved his best surfing for the 30-minute final with a display of rail-to-rail carves and powerful snaps on both the left and right peaks to build a two-wave heat total of 13.64 out of 20 to stay off a last minute challenge from runner-up Frederico Morais (PRT). Diego Mignot (FRA) and Luis Eyre (GBR) finished in third and fourth place respectively.
“Tough final and tough conditions all the comp,” began an elated Boukhiam. “This is my first pro junior win and I am so happy. I have been doing pro juniors since I was thirteen years old and I am stoked to win one. I want to thank my sponsors and Thomas and Yann Martin and my brother and my family. I also definitely want to dedicate my first victory to my dad who is watching me from the sky.”
Boukhiam was full of praise for close friend Morais who began the final day of action in scintillating form and was one of the hot favourites to take out the title.
“Frederico (Morais) was surfing well the whole comp and he is a really good friend of mine and I know he is really dangerous and powerful. I knew he could have got the score he needed really easily so I don’t like to hassle but I had to during the last few minutes. I am sorry Frederico my friend but it’s a comp.”
Frederico Morais (PRT) 20, despite struggling to find his rhythm in the final fought back with a solid 6.33 out of 10 to put him within striking distance of the winners post. Failing to find any quality waves in the final moments of the encounter, Morais added a second place finish to his ASP Europe Pro Junior rankings.
“I didn’t get any good waves in the final and I guess Ramzi got a few good ones with sick turns to get those scores. So I am a bit bummed but it was a fun contest and to be with all the boys. I am stoked with my surfing and I am improving a lot. I am looking forward to the Star events to get the points and to maybe start doing the Prime events. I am doing all the junior events because I want to go to the World Juniors which is one of my main goals this year to qualify and get to surf some good waves.”
Diego Mignot (FRA) and Luis Eyre (GBR) finishing third and fourth in the final, gave exciting displays of aerial surfing during their semi-final bouts on route to the final. Their skills and progressive surfing displayed during the Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior has solidified the youngsters as future stars on the ASP Europe Pro Junior series.
In the women’s division Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) took out her third consecutive ASP Europe Pro Junior title with a hard fought victory at the Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior. Trailing for the majority of the 30-minute final Buitendag waited patiently to eventually latch onto a short right laying down a two-turn combination to score a 7.50 out of 10 the highest single-wave score of the heat.
“The waves were really tricky and I thought I would have been able to get some quick scores in the first ten minutes but it was more like 20 minutes before my first good score. Maud surfed really well. I was paddling back out and she did the biggest tail-slide past me and I knew it was on.”
Buitendag now looks ahead to focus on her other objectives for the year on the ASP tours happening in various regions of the world over the upcoming weeks.
“I’m going to Peru,” explained Buitendag. “Then the US and then home for a Pro Junior and then back here. I’ve been relaxing this part of the year but now is the busy part. It has been a tricky event for me waking up so early and driving here each day but it has been fun. I have enjoyed the event a lot.”
Maud Le Car (FRA) 20, finished runner-up behind Buitendag in a final she held the lead for during the majority of the clash. Catching many waves during the final, Le Car threw everything into all her turns to maximise her scoring potential. The young natural footer impressed pulling off one of the biggest manoeuvres of the event during the final.
“I felt comfortable and I did a nice tail-slide turn. It was only one manoeuvre but I am happy with my surf but not with not waiting for the good waves. I want to be confident and wait for them. Bianca took the advantage with the good waves and she did two good turns and she surfed well. It is hard because she is winning all the pro junior events so far and I have some pressure but I am happy. I hope next time I wait for the better waves and get the better scores.”
Cannelle Bulard (REU) and Lucia Martino (ESP) placed third and fourth respectively in the Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior women’s final to round off an action packed women’s final which saw all four finalists surfing to the highest level in the tricky conditions.
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The Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior is made possible with the support of the following event partners: Sooruz, Agglomération Royan Atlantique, France Station Nautique – Pays Royannais, Région Poitou-Charentes, la Charente Maritime, Office National des Fôrets, La Tremblade, Saint Palais sur mer, Virgin Radio, Mona Lisa, Fédération Française de Surf, Entreprise Pitel amongst others.
Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior Men’s Final Results
1st – Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 13.64
2nd – Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.46
3rd – Diego Mignot (FRA) 9.13
4th - Luis Eyre (GBR) 8.97
Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior Women’s Final Results
1st – Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.37
2nd – Maud Le Car (FRA) 11.57
3rd – Cannelle Bulard (REU) 7.74
4th - Lucia Martino (ESP) 6.60
Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior Men’s Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Diego Mignot (FRA) 13.17, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 9.96, Kieren Bulard (REU) 9.00, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 6.40
Heat 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.33, Luis Eyre (GBR) 14.33, Andy Crière (FRA) 14.16, Francisco Alves (PRT) 9.00
Sooruz Royan Atlantique Pro Junior Women’s Semi-final Results
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.83, Lucia Martino (ESP) 7.80, Camille Davila (FRA) 7.10, Leticia Canales (EUK) 6.13
Heat 2: Cannelle Bulard (REU) 12.50, Maud Le Car (FRA) 11.50, Ainara Aymat (EUK) 4.14, Tanika Hoffman (ZAF) 4.07