ASP Billabong Pro Junior 2011: Day 1 In Sopelana

Europe’s best under-21 athletes battled it out in highly tactical heats at the 2011 ASP Billabong Pro Junior, where wave selection and positioning played an increased role in deciding the heat winners.

ASP 1-Star Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana.   Photo: Aquashot/aspeurope.comThe 2011 ASP Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana ran through to complete two rounds of men’s competition in minimal conditions which gradually improved with the incoming tide.

The Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana provides crucial points for all surfers wishing to build on their rankings towards qualifying for the ASP World Junior Series which kicks off on October 3, in Bali Indonesia.

Surfers are also out to lay claims on the added prize purse of 2000 Euros up for grabs offered by Surfing Euskadi for the overall best performer in both men’s and women’s divisions at the Billabong Pro Junior Sopelana and last week’s San Sebastian Pro Junior.

Thomas La Fonta advanced through to Round Three with solid wins in both his appearances to carry on his recent good form in the ASP Europe Pro Junior series. The strong natural-footer locked in a combination of crisp backhand turns to secure an 8.33 out of 10 and compile a two-wave heat total of 15.00, the highest of the event.

“It was a really good heat for me. I am focused and I got that left and I finished the wave well and got the score. There are small waves but they are good with lefts and rights. I have a good board for these conditions and I have no pressure so all is cool.”

La Fonta, currently ranked No. 54 on the ASP Europe Pro Junior rankings, has been collecting seed points towards next year’s series.

Mikel Zamakona, competing in first Pro Junior event for 2011, came out on top in a hotly contested clash when he latched on to the best waves of the heat and made the most of his good fortune to rack up a combined heat total of 12.83 out of 20. Zamakona, local of nearby Bakio beach, is back in action after a recent illness forced him out of last week’s event and is fully aware of the tricky conditions and varying peaks at Sopelana where his local knowledge proved invaluable.

Louca Jourdan, finished strongly to advance through to Round Three and face the events top seeds. Improving in this his second ASP Europe Pro Junior, the talented goofy footer is out to gain as much competitive experience as possible during his short visit to mainland Europe.

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