The 2007 ASP Europe Awards’ Ceremony took place Sunday night in Portugal, closing another year of great action and improvment amongst top european surfers. With more than 25 events held in Europe this year, the region keeps leading the world of surfing with more initiatives than anywhere in the world, offering our current leading surfers more and more opportunities to improve and reach the highest level possible.

The ASP Europe rewarded all its 2007 leaders yesterday evening, in front of some of the best european surfers of the moment including former ASP World Tour surfer Miky Picon (FRA), not getting any trophy last night but once again currently on his way to a requalification for the elite top 45.

Aritz Aranburu (EUK) raised his first European Pro Surf Tour trophy yesterday in Portugal, finishing his regional campaign on top of the hierarchy. Leading the tour for three months after his final in the Sooruz Lacanau Pro 6 Star WQS, Aranburu managed to remain focused and consistent on all events, winning the Zarautz Pro Surf 3 Star WQS on his way to the top.

Currently 9th on the World Qualifying Series ratings before leaving for the last hawaiian events, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) will go for the double and try and confirm his spot for next year’s Foster’s ASP World Tour. After a year of amazing surfing including a win in the 5 Star Prime WQS in Brazil and several quarterfinals in main events, Aranburu leads Europe until next year and will be a true ambassador for european surfing around the world.

“I am so happy to eventually win the title. I ended so close to the European crown as a junior but never could finish, someone taking it out of me in the last event every time.

To be European Pro Surf Tour champion means a lot to me and as well on my professional path. As says my coach, to become a world champion you start in your village, region, country, than go for the regional and eventually the big one. So it is the path I am trying to follow," started Aranburu.

“I’m already focused on the two last events in Hawaii as it’s not done for me and the WQS ratings are just tighter than ever. I need to regroup a bit but will be there next week and finish this year the best I can, and why not secure my qualification for the top 45."

Asked about any pressure, Aritz seemed comfortable. “I don’t feel under pressure but it is different to be that much solicitated and I’m glad it will soon be a break. However, for now I’ll enjoy this new victory in my career and leave for Hawaii confident for the showdown."

Romain Cloitre (REU) was rewarded for his ASP Europe Pro Junior title, for the first time of his career at 18 years old only. Dominating the circuit with three victories out of possible five, Cloitre stepped up against some of the best Pro Junior surfers in the world this year in Europe.

Clinching the precious Rip Curl Pro 3 Star ASP Europe Pro Junior in Hossegor / Seignosse against international rising star Julian Wilson (AUS), Romain Cloitre prooved again the european junior level was equalling the world’s leading nations, becoming the ambassador of Europe’s under-21 surfers to the Billabong World Junior Championships next January in Narabeen, Australia.

“This title was something I didn’t really think of when the tour started but it slowly appeared to me event after event. I was hoping for the top 4 and a spot in the Billabong WJC, but it ended with this european title. I want to thank Oakley, my team manager Yann Martin and Nixon for their support; I also want to thank the judges at ASP who do a great job at every contest," said the Reunion born surfer.

Leaving for Hawaii for his first trip ever next wednesday, Cloitre will start his full time WQS career next year and try to follow his friends and leaders within Europe, from Miky Picon (FRA) to Tim Boal (FRA), including Tiago Pires (PRT), Aritz Aranburu (EUK) or Patrick Beven (FRA).

Coming from Biarritz fro the occasion, multiple Women’s ASP Europe Longboad champion Claire Karabatsos (FRA) raised her trophy given by ASP Europe’s president David Mailman. Winning the 1 Star WLT contest in Tapia, and finishing in the final of the Kana Miss Cup 3 Star WLT in Anglet last April, Karabatsos keeps leading european longboarding with her beautiful style and approach of the waves.

“I really thank the ASP Europe for flying me over to Portugal for this award ceremony. I don’t have a lot to say but I’m happy to be part of this and what comes to my mind and concerns all of us in the world surfing is simple: keep loving the ocean and respect it."

Involved in a lot of environmental projects with Surfrider Foundation Europe, Claire Karabatsos is a perfect example for the next generation of surfers, being a great competitive surfer as well as a concerned person with our playground, the ocean.

Invited to fly across the world and attend the award cermony was tahitian Michel Demont (PYF), rewarded for his Men’s ASP Europe Longboard title. Several times winner of world class events in the past ten years, Demont won the first edition of the OPT Tahiti Pro Longboard 4 Star WLT event in Papara, Tahiti, in July and clinched his first ever regional title.

At 39 years old, Demont keeps surfing every day in his paradise island of Tahiti and reached an amazing level again in the OPT Tahiti Pro, dominating an event where some of the best in the world had answered the call, including Bonga Perkins (HAW), Duane De Soto (HAW), Jackson Close (AUS) or Eduardo Bagé (BRA).

“Stoked to be here to celebrate this title. It means a lot to me especially coming from the other side of the world and feeling this support and comitment from ASP Europe with our islands. I want to thank organisers and ASP for making this event in Papara and I can’t wait to surf in the next World Longboard Championships."

The Life Achievment Award was given to Carwyn Williams (WLS) for his career and comitment in the sport of surfing. First ever European Pro Surf Tour champion in 1989, Williams’s career opened doors to surfing’s professionalism in Europe and the ASP Europe wanted to reward the man who remains a great surfer and is always ready to help up and coming young surfers.

“This award is one in a long time and even if things have changed since my time, the only thing I hope people never forget is always to help when you can, always give what you can to the new coming guys and this is how we all improve. A big shout out to the Euroforce surfers who have been taking the level to the best ever, and we hope this keeps going."

Not attending the award ceremony because of their tight schedule, Lee-Ann Curren (FRA) and Pauline Ado (FRA) were awarded respectively for the Women’s European Pro Surf Tour and ASP Europe Pro junior titles, both young ladies being the leaders of very promissing new generation of european surfers.

    2007 ASP Europe Awards

    Men’s European Pro Surf Tour - ARITZ ARANBURU (EUK)
    Women’s European Pro Surf Tour - LEE-ANN CURREN (FRA)
    Men’s ASP Europe Pro Junior - ROMAIN CLOITRE (REU)
    Women’s ASP Europe Pro Junior - PAULINE ADO (FRA)
    Men’s ASP Europe Longboard - MICHEL DEMONT (PYF)
    Women’s ASP Europe Longboard - CLAIRE KARABATSOS (FRA)