Mlle Ado – Junior World Champ. Photo: Kristen Pelou
Fresh from defeating Bethany Hamilton in a nail-biting final at the 2009 Billabong Pro Junior Final in Sydney, Archibald caught up with the young French she-shredder for surfeuropemag.com
SE: Well done Pauline, tell us about your amazing Pro Junior win:
PA: The contest started on a pretty quiet note during the first rounds, it’s really where the favourites are observing each other and you see right away who is in top form. I know all of my adversaries pretty well, we surf against each other on a regular basis and there is always a good vibe despite the competitiveness. Once you’ve gone through the first three rounds, things got serious and actually everything went flying until the final. One of the first highlight for me during this contest was my quarter final where I surfed well and that gave me a lot of confidence. Then of course the final, it was pretty tense and also super tight against Bethany especially in the dying minute of the finale. I really though she had won with her last wave but the judges didn’t give her the score! It is a dream come true, I have to pinch myself still now talking to you! I never, honestly, though I could win that title!!
(NB: Pauline was a last minute entry into the contest after her good friend Lee Ann Curren didn’t enter for personal reasons).
SE : It is your second world title as a junior, what’s the key to such success ?
PA: That’s a hard question but on a daily basis it is pretty straight forward I think : motivation, hard work and a bit of luck during contests, that’s how you become world champ! (Laughs….)
SE: What’s your reaction when you see girls like Steph Gilmore killing it on the world tour after just a couple of years, does that make you impatient?
PA: Steph Gilmore is in a league of her own really, she is the only who managed to make a name for herself and win a world title that fast in the elite. It is true thou, her career is like a dream and you have to feed from it. She is true motivator for women surfing and you see it this year with a lot of new girls who rip qualifying for the Tour.
SE: That win and world title is a big confidence boost that will be important for your WQS assault ? What are your objectives considering that you are not totally a newcomer on the WQS?
I am gonna go full time on the WQS this year and this win is a tremendous boost in these tough times. I won’t have as much support and coaching compare to the previous years so it will be tougher for me especially at the beginning. I am gonna need a bit of time to adapt to this new challenge and that’s why I won’t put too much pressure on myself this year; the ASP world Tour is of course my aim but I am not in a rush! But what I really wanna point out and use to my advantage that everyone is beatable during a heat what ever the name of your opponent…
Is there a female Euroforce with girls from the Continent too?
Not really, you can’t really use the Euroforce term but more a frenchforce (laughs). Outside French surfers, there are very few European girls (except one Portuguese) on the international scene. But I really hope it is gonna change in the future. We support each other at a European level during those contests and sometimes it can make a difference and it is always nice to travel with more friends.