Maxime Huscenot, 16, was crowned Santa Surf Pro Junior Champion today after defeating outsider Jules Thomet (FRA) in the final of the ASP Europe 4-Star rated event. Huscenot, who dominated the consistent three foot waves at El Socorro today, takes the ASP European Junior ratings' lead and will be a serious contender for a possible regional crown this year.

Huscenot clinched his maiden Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Pro Junior title today after putting on a show throughout the day and posting the highest heat tally of the event in Semifinal #1 to defeat Naoum Ildefonsse (FRA), an impressive 18.43 point score (out of a possible 20). Huscenot, who won all his heats in the Santa Surf Pro Junior, was unstoppable today and outsider Jules Thomet could do nothing but accept a runner-up finish, his best result to date.

“I cannot believe I won the event, so stoked," Huscenot said. “I was feeling good all week, felt in rhythm with the waves and my boards were perfect. I wanted to have fun and surfed relaxed at every round and it ends perfectly."

Huscenot, who finished No. 15 on the 2007 ASP European Pro Junior ratings, now sits on top of the regional hierarchy and will be the man to beat when the tour hits Portugal for its third stop in July.

“It’s good to have a break now before Portugal in July," Huscenot said. “I need to step back and look at the bigger picture and enjoy this big win. I will be focused on my exams now as I still have high school to deal with and it is as important for me. My goal this year is to finish in the Top 5 and get a spot for the ASP World Junior Championships in Narabeen next January."

Jules Thomet (FRA), 15, who was stopped in the final after defeating experienced Moroccan surfer Yassine Ramdaini (MAR) in the semifinals. Thomet, who jumps from No. 13 to No. 3 on the regional ratings, showed great improvment and tactics throughout the event and now stand as a potential regional champion.

“I did not surf my best today and I felt like it was too much pressure," Thomet said. “I will focus on improving this part during my training and I hope next time I can give 100% of my surfing."

Thomet, who was ranked No. 18 in 2007, now aims at a qualification for the ASP World Junior Championships after this final in the biggest Pro Junior of the year.

“My Round 4 elimination in Portugal was a tough one and I was very disappointed," Thomet said. “This final in the only 4-Star rated event of the year gets me back on track for a possible qualification so I will work on a new strategy and do my best."

Naoum Ildefonnse (FRA) and Yassine Ramdaini (MAR) were eliminated respectively in Semifinal #1 and #2, both posting a crucial result that will be a keeper for this year’s ratings. Ildefonsse, who lost to winner Huscenot, prooved he was definitely back at his best level after taking a year-break from the tour. Ramdaini, who lost by 0.43 points to Thomet in the second semifinal, was still happy with his result eventhough losing such a tight heat is always a bummer.

“It is those heats that can that can go both ways and it went to Jules (Thomet)," Ramdaini said. “I wanted to make the final but the waves were tricky and I could not find any consistent rides. It is still a a good result and a keeper for this year’s ratings so I will keep training hard for the summer leg."

All best under-21 surfers will meet in Portugal, from July 7 to 9, for Stop No. 3 of the ASP European Pro Junior tour.