SOPELANA, Basque Country (Thursday, July 31, 2008) - The Island Style Pro Junior, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-2 Men's and Grade-1 Women's event, got underway today at Sopelana in the Basque Country.
The event was blessed with consistent two to three foot (0.5 to 1 meter) waves for its second edition's kick off and Women's Round 1 and Men's Rounds 1 and 2 were completed.
Thomas Chamula (REU), 18, a newcomer on the regional tour, was today's standout when he posted a solid 15.76 point heat tally (out of a possible 20), the highest result of the day including an excellent 8.83 point ride (out of possible 10).
"I am happy to be here," Chamula said. "I come from Reunion Island and am not used to surfing these soft and slow conditions. I waited for the better waves and things went the right way, stoked to be in Round 3."
Chamula, who has not competed yet this year on the ASP European Pro Junior circuit, has no chance to grab the regional title but will aim at going as far as he can in the Asp Grade-2 Pro Junior event.
"I don't really aim at winning", Chamula said. "This event gives me the opportunity to gain experience and confidence. It is already a big challenge for me."
With all favorites not surfing before Round 4, unknown surfers and locals were able to enjoy their time out before big names start firing at the consistent beachbreak.
Local surfers Imanol Ieregi (EUK) and Ander Ugarte (EUK) were the crowd's favorites on Day 1 of competition. Ieregi and Ugarte, two rising Basque surfers from Sopelana, advanced through to Round 3 today and will be potential trouble-makers if they manage to reach the top seeded surfers' round.
"I am psyched to get through two heats today," Ieregi said. "It is good to be at home supported by my family and all my friends. Tomorrow, I will surf very relaxed because I am still very young and plenty of things to learn."
With a new swell expected to reach the Basque Country this weekend, local knowledge and experience of the tricky beachbreak will be great assets for all locals. Contest officials are confident in finishing the event in good four foot (1.2 meter) waves and give Europe's leading under-21 surfers a great finish.
Apart from the Men's event, the Island Style Pro Junior featured four 3-woman heats today, getting the event to its first main clashes that will take place when Round 2 resumes.
Canelle Bulard (REU), 14, current ASP European Women's Junior leader, will paddle out in Heat 7 tomorrow and is a favorite for the crown. After winning the opening event of the season, Bulard is focused on the regional crown and a possible ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) qualification.
The waiting period of the Island Style Pro Junior runs until Sunday, August 3rd and all competitors will meet tomorrow at 10 AM (GMT+2) to check the conditions and get things going if possible.
All news, photos and results at www.aspeurope.com
UPCOMING WOMEN'S ROUND 2
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA), Fanny Brice (FRA), Malissa Pichaud (FRA), Holly Donnely (JSY)
Heat 2: Garazy Sanchez (EUK), Rachel Wadoux (FRA), Lore Eizaguirre (EUK), Maeva Akbi (FRA)
Heat 3: Joanna Giansanti (FRA), Aix Cranet (FRA), Maud Lecar (FRA), Morgane Legrand (FRA)
Heat 4: Lea Mengual (FRA), Aimat Ainara (EUK), Loiola Canales (EUK), Tassy Swallow (GBR)
Heat 5: Alizée Arnaud (FRA), Lucia Martino (EUK), Marjolaine Ado (FRA), Anne Peres (FRA)
Heat 6: Idoia Meabe (EUK), Ravi Bailleux (FRA), Marion Bouzigues (FRA), Beth Mason (ENG)
Heat 7: Canelle Bulard (FRA), Laetitia Canales (EUK), Annabel Talouam (FRA), Ana Saramento (PRT)
Heat 8: Merril Delanne (FRA), Camille Davila (FRA), Edith San Segundo (EUK), Ana Morau (FRA)
UPCOMING MEN'S ROUND 3
Heat 1: Tom Neushhwanger (REU), Kevin Bourez (PYF), Julien Thouron (FRA), Shawn Denis (ZAF)
Heat 2: Yonathan Klein (ITA), Francisco Alves (PRT), Angelo Bonomeli (ITA), Asier Makeda (EUK)
Heat 3: Stuart Campbell (GBR), Yann Guyonneau (FRA), Nicolas Perez (FRA), François Herault (FRA)
Heat 4: Roland Lefreuve (FRA), Harry Delanne (FRA), Guillaume Mangiaroti (FRA), Dani Goya (EUK)
Heat 5: Alessandro Piu (ITA), Naoum Ildefonsse (FRA), Thomas Fok Choeng (FRA), Jules Noirbusson (FRA)
Heat 6: Ian Fontaine (FRA), Lewis Clinton (GBR), Mikel Zamakona (EUK), Diogo Castro Apleton (GBR)
Heat 7: Gonzalez Dominguez (CNY), Julian Reichmann, (FRA), Thomas Chamula (REU), Nicals Remi (FRA)
Heat 8: Marc Audo (FRA), Luis Eyre (GBR), Jorgan Couzinet (FRA), Alex Baker (GBR)
Heat 9: Billy Norways (GBR), Mario Azurza (EUK), Unai Arizeta (EUK), Killan Raust (FRA)
Heat 10: Dane Hall (GBR), Martin Dambreville (REU), Ormand Rangi (NZ), Benjamin Walter (FRA)
Heat 11: Guillermo Alonso (ESP), Pablo Montero (ESP), Ivo Caçao (PRT), Othmane Choufani (MAR)
Heat 12: Borja Agote (EUK), Yann Martin (GLP), Imanol Ieregi (EUK), Josch Schmeltzer (DEU)
Heat 13: Hugo Dubosc (REU), Joao Guerra (PRT), Ugo Robin (FRA), Ivan Laya Beci (ESP)
Heat 14: Igor Muniain (EUK), Geosselin Poulou (FRA), Jose Ferreira (PRT), Ander Ugarte (EUK)
Heat 15: Kierran Bulard (REU), Roberto D. Amico (ITA), Filiipe Jervis Pereira (PRT), Ethan Egiguren (EUK)
Heat 16: Robert W.Blythe, Leonardo Belime (PRT), Keone Campbell (NZ), Pascal Van Der Mast (DEU)