SOPELANA, Euskadi (Wednesday, July 29, 2009) – The Sopelana Pro Junior, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-1 Men and Women’s event, will start tomorrow in the Basque Country, for another four days of action and exciting results. Running its third consecutive edition at the consistent beach break of Sopelana’s main beach, the event promises to bring high levels of surfing just three days after the last event finished at San Sebastian.
Medi Veminardi (REU), 18, a longtime ASP European ratings’ top surfer, will defend his crown at Sopelana where he won his maiden ASP Junior Series title last year at the exact same beach after defeating local favorite and current ASP European Junior ratings’ No. 4 Jatyr Berasaluce. Veminardi, who opened the 2009 season with an equal 5th place finish in Portugal last April, will be looking to get back to his best after a disappointing result at San Sebastian, the Reunion Island born surfer having the skills to best any of the current ratings’ leader.
Sharpening their competitive approach as the tour enters its second half will be current ratinsg’ No. 2 and exceptional competitor Marc Lacomare (Hossegor, FRA), 18, and leader Joachim Guichard (Algarve, DEN), 19, both looking to solidfy their position. Another serious threat for the defending champion will come from the Basque contigent with last year’s runner-up and Sopelana local Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK), 20, leading the assault and hoping to grab his maiden title in front of his home crowds.
Berasaluce, who just got antoher runner-up finish at San Sebastian behind unstoppable Brazilian surfer Thomaz Petterson (Santa Catarina, BRA),20, has yet to clinch a first ASP Junior Series crown, but the Basque competitor, who has been amongst Europe’s best surfer for a couple of years now, will be confident when he hits the water for his start in the event. At 20 years of age, Berasaluce is in his last year as a Junior competitor and he knows a win at Sopelana could give him a bit of air before he attends the year’s biggest events in August.
In the women’s division, current ratings’ leader Alizze Arnaud will once again be the favorite, the Sopelana Girls Pro Junior defending champion looking to consolidate her stellar start this season that has seen her win the first event in Portugal and make the final at San Sebastian last week. Arnaud, who has already taken the decision to put all her efforts into becoming a true ASP professional surfer after graduating from high school last month, will be cruising for another big result in the second to last event of the girls season, the finish taking place at Lacanau in Hossegor.
With fellow girls top competitors Marie Dejean (Les Sables d’Olonne, FRA), 18, and Johanne Defay (REU), 15, respectively first and second at San Sebastian last week, the action promises to step up as the ASP European Women’s Junior tour enters its second and final half.