Interview with ASP World Junior Champion Maxime Huscenot
ASP Europe caught-up with new ASP World Junior Champion Maxime Huscenot (REU), 17, for a look back on his career’s greatest achievement, his 2009 ASP World Junior title. At 17 years of age only, Huscenot is the second French surfer to clinch an ASP World title after Pauline Ado (FRA) in 2008 in the women’s junior division
Following the footsteps of world famous and ASP Top 45 member Jeremy Flores, a good friend of his, Huscenot already counts an ASP European Junior title (2008), several event wins including an ASP Grade-4 Pro Junior in Tenerife (2008) and now an ASP World Junior title to his personal score board. A promising start for the young man…
While competing in New Zealand as a member of the French national team, Huscenot took time to send us a few words on what will remain historical for French and European surfing. From media requests to non-stop competition, Huscenot hasn’t had much time to realize his prowess, the Reunion Island born athlete having defeated two ASP World Tour rookies during the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) en route to victory.
1.Now that you are a world champion, do you realize what you’ve achieved? How did you live through those final heats at Narabeen?
I don’t really realize yet what I’ve done and what it means for me today. I know I felt pretty good with the conditions the finals’ day and I had no pressure, I was having fun heat after heat. I guess my board went really well that day and I felt I could try pretty much any move and turn confidently.
2. You defeated some of the world’s best surfers including two ASP Top 45 rookies… How does it add to the prestige of your crown?
Of course, it makes just amazing, especially when you get to surf against Owen Wright (AUS) in front of his home crowds knowing the man beat Kelly Slater twice in 2009. I surfed a good heat against him and from there, I thought I could probably beat the other guys in the draw. Jadson (Andre) was surfing so well that day and we had such a close heat even if the scores did not go that high. I followed these two surfers all year on the WQS and I am so stoked I defeated them.
3. Can you take us through that week?
I was there with my dad because I really wanted him to be with me. He helps a lot in choosing my boards and in my wave choice. We spent lots of time watching the line-up before my heats and were really looking at the better options. Belly (Stephen Bell, Quiksilver Team Manager) was there as well.
I had a good entourage with people who believed in me and it helped achieve that result. I will never forget my Quarterfinal bout. It was the first of the day and I really surfed it well. I started off well with an air reverse on my first wave and built my confidence from there. I had quite a bit of pressure in the final, felt tired, but still thought I could do it. In the end, it all went well and I’m really happy.
4. You are the first male surfer to clinch an ASP World title. How does it feel to fly the flag?
We didn’t even have a flag with us, just as Pauline (Ado) the year before when she won. And it was a shame because I was really expecting to raise that flag after my win. My dad went and took the one which was above the event official area and brought it to me. When I held it in my hands, I felt really proud to raise it, because I feel it hasn’t been seen enough recently! (Laughs)
5. At 17 years of age only, things have been going on well for you in surfing. Take us through 2009?
I started the year with a fifth at Narabeen for my first appearance, then got a third in the ISA World Juniors in Ecuador. Then I focused back on school and studies to graduate from high school before going on tour in Europe the whole summer. Things stopped after that as I injured one of my knee ligaments, an injury that forced me to go through rehabilitation. I was of the water for a month and I believe it made me hungrier and stronger.
6. That win in the ASP World Juniors gives you a valuable ticket for the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) in 2010. Is M. Huscenot looking at going around the world with the big names?
I don’t feel like I am ready to go full time on the WQS yet, my plan is to take another couple of years of training and experience so I am going to take things slowly. However, I am going to use that wildcard (into the top seeded round of every major WQS event) do enter a few Prime rated events in places I like, Maldives, Trestles or Durban for example. But my focus will be on gaining experience, travelling and learning as much as I can. I’ve got a lot to learn still.
7. European and French surfing is doing well. What’s your opinion on that evolution and how does it affect the path of a young and rising athlete like you? Who do you try and follow? Do you feel a member of the growing top level team?
I think French and European surfers have changed their approach of the sport the last few years and it’s becoming more and more popular. This new step in our evolution is die to excellent surfers who pushed eachother and grew together. There have always been good surfer in Europe and I think the Euroforce has now gained recognition in the surfing world.
Personally I have my own examples, surfers who have and still inspire me, like Frederic Robin, Miky Picon, Jeremy Flores or Michel Bourez, and many more. I’ve always been hanging out with the European since I started surfing and I hope I am a part of this rising generation.
8. Anything else?
I want to thank everyone who encouraged me during the Billabong ASP World Juniors. My parents, my sister, my girlfriend, Belly and Pierre Agnes (Quiksilver Europe CEO), my coach Patrick Flores, Quiksilver and Euroglass, the ASP, the French Surfing Federation and the Reunion Island League. Thanks to everyone, that’s it!