Frenchy Gordon Fontaine has taken his first ever ASP title at the O’Neill Cordoama Pro, posting some strong scores on his way to the final.
Gordon Fontaine (Brittany, FRA), 20, has won the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 1-Star O’Neill Pro Cordoama Pro pres. by Nissan in Portugal today, the Frenchman besting fellow finalists Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU), Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) and Luka Guichard (DEN) to claim his maiden ASP title. Fontaine, who was a standout throughout the three-day event, managed to find his way through the Quarterfinals and Semifinals finishing his run with good 13.50 point heat score out of a possible 20.
Fontaine, a longtime ASP European Junior tour contender, was at ease in the three foot (one meter) waves on offer during the event, posting several high scores en route to the final. With great determination and heat tactics, Fontaine finished on top of 64-man field led by many of Europe’s best rising competitors.
“I am so stoked, I don’t really realize I’ve won the thing,” Fontaine said. “I haven’t won an event in years and to get this one is really special. It was my first WQS final and to win it makes it just the perfect ending!”
With significant points counting for the ASP European WQS ratings and great confidence for his summer start, Fontaine will be looking to confirming his stellar start and build on his performance, a premiere in his young career.
“My focus this year remains the ASP European Junior tour as I want to qualify for the ASP World Junior Championships (WJC) and it means a Top 4 finish this year,” Fontaine said. “I surfed relaxed throughout the event after my Round 1 loss in the Pro Junior event at the beginning of the week and it worked out pretty well so I will try and approach the next events the same way.”
Event runner-up Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU), 18, was surfing his first ASP WQS final as well, the German Algarve resident finishing just behind Fontaine after leading the exchange for most of the 30-minute decider. Von Rupp, who was looking to better his best result in Cordoama, a Semifinal finish, achieved his goal by placing second and will use his experience and confidence in the upcoming Under-21 events.
“I borrowed a board this morning as I was not feeling good on mine and it took me to the final,” Von Rupp said. “The waves were very hard to surf but I made the final which is already a great result. I was close to winning the thing though.”
Von Rupp, a former ASP European Junior No. 2, remains a serious Under-21 regional title contender and is focused on it for 2009. With an average start thus far, Von Rupp will be looking to build momentum from his excellent run in Portugal.
“I am looking to get back to my best level and do well at the Pro Junior events,” Von Rupp said. “It is my main focus this year and I haven’t had a good start yet so this is my priority now. Hopefully things will work out.”
Last year’s runner-up Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) came close to equaling and bettering his 2008 result, the Portuguese showing the same consistency and solid tactics throughout the event to reach 3rd place and be the best Portuguese competitor in the event. At 22 years of age, Fernandes rises as a promising regional surfer.
Visit www.aspeurope.com for results, photos and news of the ASP Grade-1 Buondi Pro Junior
ASP WQS 1-STAR O’NEILL PRO CORDOAMA RESULTS
1st, Gordon Fontaine (FRA) 13.50 pts
2nd, Nicolau Von Rupp (DEu) 11.83 pts
3rd, Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 11.53 pts
4th, Luka Guichard (DEN) 9.80 pts
Heat 1: Gordon Fontaine (FRA) 15.50 pts, Luka Guichard (DEN) 13.10 pts, Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 11.73 pts, Damien Chaudoy (REU) 7.88 pts
Heat 2: Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 12.70 pts, Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU) 12.07 pts, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 12.00 pts, Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 8.43 pts
Heat 1: Damien Chaudoy (REU) 14.40 pts, Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 13.50 pts, Borja Agote (EUK) 11.50 pts, Alexandre Ferreira (PRT) 7.60 pts
Heat 2: Luka Guichard (DEN) 13.17 pts, Gordon Fontaine (FRA) 12.47 pts, Miguel Ximenez (PRT) 9.47 pts, David Luis (PRT) 5.40 pts
Heat 3: Eduardo Fernandes (PRT) 11.96 pts, Abdel El Harim (MAR) 11.63 pts, Miguel Mouzinho (PRT) 11.27 pts, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 10.13 pts
Heat 4: Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 16.33 pts, Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU) 11.06 pts, Mario Azurza (EUK) 7.44 pts, Mohamed Berrada (MAR) 4.93 pts