Interview with Maxime Huscenot

We caught up with recently crowned ASP European Junior champion Maxime Huscenot, 16, for a chat on his excellent year and path to glory.

Maxime Huscenot.  Copyright: Aquashot / ASPEurope.com1. Being crowned ASP European Junior champion at 16 must have been exceptional. How do you look back on 2008?
2008 was better than I could ever imagained. I had a couple of things in mind when the year started but the ASP European Junior tour did come first as I was more focused on the King of the Groms and the Iinternational Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior games. Regarding the ASP tour, I was hoping for a Top 10 finish, possibly a Top 5. But to end up first was unbelievable.

2. You led the ratings from June to September. What about the pressure of being the man to beat?
I did feel under pressure a little bit. I really wanted to stay in the Top 5 at least to guarantee a spot for the ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) at Narabeen. I knew I would need two Quarterfinal berths in the last events of the year so I focused on this goal. Unfortunately I put too much pressure on myself and was not able to do any better than that. In the end, it was enough to secure my No. 1 spot but I must admit the cancelation of the final event did help me.

3. What is your usual training program?
I usually train with my coach Patrick Flores (Jeremy Flores’s father) when we can see eachother and the rest of the time we are in touch by email. I did quite a few video sessions with my father as well but what helped a lot on top of that was the opportunity Belly (Quiksilver team manager) gave me to go to a couple of ASP World Tour events at J-Bay and Trestles. To hang out with all the best and watch them surfing helped a lot.

4. After such a big achievment at 16, what is the plan for next year?
I have to finish high school this year and the option I chose gives me a lot of work so I will do very few events until June. Thanks to the title, I will have a wild card for all major ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events in Europe next year so the plan is to start getting points and secure a good enough seeding for 2010, when I start surfing the WQS events full time.

5. In six weeks you will meet with the world’s best juniors at Narabeen. How do you feel about that? What do you expect from the event and what do you think of the level?
I have been going to Narabeen to watch the event for four years now and trained a lot there with Patrick Flores, surfing with the best guys. The level is amazing and it seems like it is better every year. I have always wanted to surf in the event and show what I could do facing the world’s best. I know the big names coming and it is going to be very tough but I believe I can do something. Very few of the guys know me so I will go and show my surf and we will see what happens. Being the youngest surfer there will help as well because I will have nothing to lose and less pressure.

6. What do you think of the European junior level? Do you feel ASP European surfers have now caught up with ASP Australian juniors?
I don’t thing Europe has reached Australia’s level yet but the top junior guys in Europe are really good. Many of the Top 10 in Europe have the skills to beat a lot of Australians but the difference comes from the number of excellent surfers. Australia has 50 amazing surfers and 15 exceptional ones. Europe does not have that many. You just to have to give 150% every time you surf in a heat or you are out of the game. Making the Semifinals is very tough because even when you make it that far you have to step up and take your level further. But European surfing is growing fast and it will not take long before it catches up with the best nations.

7. What about the feeling within the European team for Narabeen? You will be part of a strong group with Marc Lacomare, Medi Veminardi, Jatyr Berasaluce, Charles Martin (GLP)...
There is a very good feeling between us and I am good friends with everyone : Marc, Medi, Charles, PV (Laborde)... They are all very good guys and excellent surfers but when you get to face the world’s best, it is another story. Charly (Martin) made the Semifinals in January and reached an amazing level so there is definitely a chance for some of us and I am sure one European at least can make the final four in 2009. The general level has already gone up so we will have to step up again but we deserve to be there and looking at the European results worldwide in 2008, there is something big happening.

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