LACANAU OCEAN – France (Thursday, August 13, 2009) – The ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior got underway at Lacanau today, the men’s division kicking-off in tricky two foot (0.5 meter) clean waves for an action-packed day of surfing and two rounds being completed. From international representatives to regional event low seeds, numerous summer crowds witnessed intense battles take place and Brazil’s Wiggoly Dantas (BRA), 19, taking control of proceedings.
Dantas, who just got back from England where he placed equal 3rd in the ASP WQS 5-Star event, paddled back out with his competition rash vest on to destroy the small waves on offer and post the day’s highest heat score, an impressive 17.16 point tally including a 9.33 point ride (out of a possible 10).
“The waves were okay and fun enough during my heat,” Dantas said. “I just went out there relaxed to try and get the better set waves and I managed to do well so I’ m happy to get through Day 1. I am still learning a lot and competing on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) so that event is another good training.”
Dantas, who is one of Brazil’s leading representatives on the WQS, was able to advance through two rounds today, the 19-year-old competitor advancing through to the event’s top seeds round where he will meet regional top competitors Dimitri Ouvre (FRA) and Edouard Delpero (FRA).
“It wasn’t easy to surf well in the small surf but I am happy with my scores,” Dantas said. “That event is a good training to get used to the place before the WQS contest so I will go heat by heat and enjoy myself without pressure.”
While Dantas was easily taking a commanding lead over the rest of today’s competitive field, several exciting heats got place throughout the day with most of today’s favorites advancing through to Round 3 of the ASP Grade-2 event. Fifth event on this year’s ASP European Pro Junior tour, the Oakley Pro Junior is a crucial step in the regional ratings’ race and pressure already settled over the competitors’ area as Day 1 was coming to an end.
Starting today along with the low seeds was ratings’ front runner Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), the 18-year-old Hossegor resident having to get through two rounds today to join his peers in Round 3. Laborde, who has had a solid start on this year’s ASP European Junior tour, came up with excellent surfing to advance and avoid an upset elimination. Still in contention for a first regional crown, Laborde showed he was ready to step-up and reach his best level this week.
“It’s good to get through those two rounds and get to surf in Round 3 where I should have started,” Laborde said. “The waves were pretty small but I managed to catch a couple in each of my heats and I am now focused on Round 3 where things will get tougher.”
Other top seed to surf early today due to a late entry was current ASP WQS No. 10 Joan Duru (FRA), 19, the renowned competitor and current best European on the WQS escaping the first two rounds of competition to join Oakley Pro Junior top seeds and keep his title hopes alive.
Contest director Cyril Camu along with ASP Head Judge Iain Buchanan had to stop the event after the completion of round 2, deciding of an early check-in for Friday to take advantage of the incoming tide.
“The fore is pretty small so we want to use most of the better tide moments,” Camu said. “The sand banks are excellent and any small push will give decent surf so we want to give the top seeds some contestable waves and tomorrow morning should be clean.”
All Round 3 competitors will start their ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior campaign tomorrow, once the call is made at 7 AM.