LOS REALEJOS, Tenerife – Canary Islands (Saturday, September 6, 2009) – Charles Martin (GLP), 18, won the ASP Grade-3 Santa Surf Pro Junior in Tenerife today after defeating fellow finalist Frederico Morais (PRT) in the last Man-on-man battle of the 2009 ASP European Junior tour. Martin, who ousted recently crowned ASP European Junior Champion Marc Lacomare (FRA) in the Semifinals, confidently led the final bout of the year against Morais to win his second event this season after the ASP Grade-2 contest at Lacanau mid-August, both men securing their ticket for the 2009 ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) after respectively finishing their 2009 campaign ranked No. 2 and 3 on the ASP European Junior ratings.
Martin, who posted a couple of high-seven scores throughout his two heats today to claim the prestigious title, was in excellent form this week in the consistent surf and let his surfing speak to oust defeat unexpected but solid runner-up Frederico Morais with a good 14.00 point heat result. The 18-year-old rising star, who peaked with an equal 3rd at the WJC in Australia in 2008, was able to display progressive and power-surfing to take out the final event.
“The final wasn’t that great because we macked a few waves,” Martin said. “But overall, it was a great contest with good surf every day and long enough heats. The level was pretty amazing this week since Round 1, and the fast-breaking waves on offer offer a great scoring potential when you get the right one.
Martin, who had missed the season kick-off due to school obligations in the first six months of the year, made a spectacular come-back into the ratings’ front-runners pack in August after claiming the event at Lacanau and dominated the final day of competition to confirm his presence in this year’s ASP WJC that will take place at Narabeen, Australia, next January.
“I am super stoked to finish the year with a win,” Martin said. “I felt good here this week, hanging out with my friends. I knew the title was out of reach so I focused on that Top 4 finish and this event and I am finishing No. 2 which is pretty good. Looking back on the last few weeks, that early loss at Hossegor is my main disappointment but I think I wasn’t focused enough. For next year, I am not really ready for the WQS yet but I want to keep improving by surfing good waves. I’ll spend time in Tahiti, Hawaii and Australia.”
Outsider in the final bout of the year, Morais was the surprise of the Santa Surf Pro Junior making the final of the ASP Grade-3 rated contest to climb-up the Junior ratings and secure his first ever ticket for the ASP World Junior Championships (WJC). Morais, whose performances in 2009 rocketed the man into the spotlights of regional Under-21 professional surfing, reached a career best today at Tenerife after besting experienced competitor Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) and posting a good 13.27 point heat result in the final.
“I am just so happy I made the final today, it’s a great result and it guarantees me with an entry into the ASP WJC, » Morais said. “I think I surfed well all week, I had a good feeling while competing and the waves were consistent every day. I am stoked right now.”
Much awaited as Portugal’s next big thing since he started competing at 14 in the national surfing championships, Morais confirmed his potential today by achieving his best result ever in an ASP Grade-3 rated Pro Junior event and will be the first Portuguese surfer in years to fly the Portuguese flag at Narabeen.
“I think I had more confidence this year at all events,” Morais said. “I trained hard with my dad and my mental coach last winter and it made a significant difference. I am more confident in my surfing and more trained for competition now. I have no idea how the waves are at Narabeen but I’ll take it as it comes, probably will be there a week before the event to get used the place than I’ll try my best to get through heats and see how it works.”
Placing 3rd today were Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) and Marc Lacomare (FRA), both men losing in the Semifinals of the Santa Surf Pro Junior. Laborde, who could have got back into the ratings’ Top 4 with a win today, was not able to stop Morais from making the final, and finishes the year ranked No. 10 in Europe.
“It was a close heat and I knew I would be able to battle for the Top 4 had I made the final,” Laborde said. “But I was pretty nervous and got too many average waves instead of taking time to chose the better ones so that’s it. I am still happy with this 3rd place finish as it is my best result this year.”
Laborde, who will be finishing high-school next year, remains one of France’s best Under-21 competitors and confessed he would be back on tour in 2010 to try and claim the regional title, if things go his way.
“I still have a year before graduating from high school so I’ll be back on tour, on the ASP European Pro Junior tour only, and I will focus more on my heats,” Laborde said. “If things go right, I might aim at the regional title, but it’s about time-off from competition right now.”
Qualifying along with Marc Lacomare (FRA), Charles Martin (GLP) and Frederico Morais (PRT) was Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK), the best Basque Under-21 surfer getting his third consecutive ticket for the ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) after finishing fourth on this year’s European junior ratings. Berasaluce, who ped from 2nd to 4th after losing early in the Santa Surf Pro Junior this week, will head to Narabeen with the rest of the contingent next January for his last try at claiming the prestigious ASP World Junior title as the Sopelana resident turns 21 in 2010 and will go onto competing on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS).
Results, news and photos of the ASP Grade-3 Santa Surf Pro Junior are available at aspeurope.com.
SANTA SURF PRO JUNIOR FINAL
1 – Charles Martin (GLP) 14.00 pts
2 – Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.27 pts
SANTA SURF PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINALS
SF 1: Charles Martin (GLP) 14.57 pts Def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.00 pts
SF 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.33 pts Def. Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 11.90 pts
2009 ASP EUROPEAN JUNIOR RATINGS TOP 4 QUALIFYING FOR NARRABEEN
1 – Marc Lacomare (FRA), 5710 pts
2 – Charles Martin (GLP), 4970 pts
3 – Frederico Morais (PRT), 4180 pts
4 – Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK), 3980 pts