- 01 August 2011 | Surfing
Ian Fontaine and Cannelle Bulard won the Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana in their respective divisions in commanding fashion, during an intense final day of competition in excellent 3-4ft peaks, at the main event site of Sopelana beach.
Fontaine was the inform surfer of the day and he took full advantage of a slight increase in swell overnight to tear apart the rippable peaks with a dominating display in the 30-minute final.
A combination of lightening fast forehand snaps earned a 7.83 out of 10 early on and was followed shortly after with a huge air-reverse to claim another 7-point ride which proved enough to take the win over runner up Medi Veminardi, Lewis Clinton and local surfer Natxo Gonzalez, who placed fourth.
"I felt really well today right from the quarters through to the final," began Fontaine. "I am so happy to win this contest. I have a new coach, Richard Marsh, and he is really good. He has kept me focused and told me the best spots to sit in the heats. It is excellent to have a coach like this when you are in a pro junior contest."
Fontaine, the youngest of a trio of surfing brothers, was on fire after his semi-final bout that saw him amass a combined two-wave heat total of 17.50 including a near perfect 9.50 out of 10. On a roll, the quietly spoken natural footer kept his momentum during the final to find himself rocket up into 14th position on the ASP Europe Men’s Pro Junior rankings.
"I did two really bad contests early in the season and I was out of the rankings. I did San Sebastian which was a 2-star and I said to myself ‘I needed to do well’. In the end I came here with a little pressure to do well and I surfed my best and I won."
Bulard made it back-to-back wins in the ASP Europe Women’s Pro Junior series to jump into first place on the ASP Europe Women’s Pro Junior rankings. The talented goofy footer performed a series of top-to-bottom forehand snaps to secure an 8.50 and backed up with a last wave of 6.50 out of 10 to hold off a late challenge by runner-up Joanne Defay.
"I am really happy and the waves were hard to surf but now I am first on the junior rankings so I’ve got a chance to go to the World Juniors so I am really happy. Well done to Joanne who surfed really well and it was close. We couldn’t hear the scores way out the back so I took my last wave and looked to see if she had a wave. I heard the speaker saying that we were waiting for scores so my heart was going crazy. I was nervous but I won so I am happy."
Surfing Euskadi has returned for the second consecutive year with increased financial support for Europe’s top surfers with Vasco Ribeiro taking out the added prize purse of 1,000 Euros for the best overall performance in the two ASP Pro Juniors celebrated this month in the Basque Country, while Bulard pocketed another 1,000 Euros for taking out the overall best women’s performance.
"I want to say thank you to Surfing Euskadi," said Ribeiro. "These two contests are two of the best contests on the whole tour. I really enjoy coming to the Basque Country and surf in San Sebastian and Sopelana. They are such good beach breaks and I hope they continue to do both these contests for a long time."
Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana Men’s Final
1st Ian Fontaine (FRA) 14.93
2nd Medi Veminardi (REU) 10.87
3rd Lewis Clinton (GBR) 10.83
4th Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 7.46
Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana Women’s Final
1st Cannelle Bulard (REU) 15.00
2nd Joanne Defay (FRA) 14.60
3rd Lucia Martino (ESP) 10.13
4th Marie Dejean (FRA) 7.17