Quiksilver King of The Groms Euro final to hit Zarautz..
New this year for Europe's premier U16 surfing event. After more than 15 years in Capbreton (Fra), the Quiksilver King of the Groms is on the move. Europe's top young surfers aged 16 and under are all set to meet up on 7th and 8th August in Zarautz in the Basque Country, to compete in the European final. The contest will be held in the very same waves where Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu learned his trade. He is currently one of the seven Europeans on the ASP World Tour. Ten years after winning the Grommets Trophy (now the King of the Groms) Aritz Aranburu (Eus) will be sponsoring this 2009 edition.
Whilst the date and venue of the European final are changing, the concept remains the same:
- Qualifier events across Europe - A European final at Zarautz from 7th to 8th August 2009
European qualifying dates:
France – 10 qualifiers Brittany: 6/7 June (2 qualifiers) Capbreton: 18 July (8 qualifiers)
UK – 4 qualifiers Fistral Beach, Newquay: 4/5 July (2 qualifiers) Watersplash, Jersey: 6/7 June (2 qualifiers) Ireland – 1 qualifier Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal: 20/21 June
Portugal – 5 qualifiers 2 wildcards allocated to Francisco Alves and Henrique Rui. The 3 best surfers under 16 at the Pro Junior in Portugal will win their ticket to the European final.
Spain – 6 qualifiers Galice, Razo: 11/12 July Cantabria, Somo: 18/19 July
West Indies – 2 qualifiers Martinique, Tartane: 12/13 April Guadeloupe, Le Moule: 6/7 June Saint Martin, Galion beach - Final: 10/11 May
Italy – 1 qualifier Marina di Massa: 15 April to 31 May
Holland – 1 qualifier Domburg: 21/24 May *
Canaries – 2 qualifiers Gran Canaria, Playa Cicer: 6/7 June (1 qualifier) Tenerife – Playa las Americas: 13/14 June (1 qualifier)
Note: if there are not enough waves on 7th and 8th August for the final to go ahead normally, the competition will be extended to Sunday 9 August.
* To overcome a possible lack of waves, the KOTG's organizers in Benelux have set aside four potential dates to guarantee a qualifying event can go ahead. If conditions are unsuitable in Domburg, the Benelux qualifying event will take place at Hoek Van Holland from 30 May to 1 June. If conditions are poor at Hoek Van Holland, the qualifier will be held at Texel, and so on. The official qualifying event is the one at Domburg from 21 to 24 May.
During these qualifiers, Quiksilver Benelux and the Quiksilver Foundation will organize ecologicallythemed events, with biologists on hand to raise awareness among the kids about the importance of protecting the environment and the coast. Introductions to surfing and paddle boarding will also be available to the public.
The European final For the second year running, Quiksilver is organizing a European Final of the King of the Groms. From April onwards, the young surfers will be able to compete in qualifying events held across the continent, in an attempt to win their ticket to the final in Zarautz (note: Qualifying is reserved for residents of the host country only).
In the final, thirty young surfers will come together at the Basque spot, Zarautz. Up for grabs will be a place in the International Final, due to take place for the second consecutive year on the beaches of Hossegor, Seignosse, Capbreton and Saint Jean de Luz during the Quiksilver Pro France from 23 September to 4 October. Places are precious and only the top two from the European Final at Zarautz will go through to the international event.
International Qualifying As in Europe, surfers aged 16 and under from the other continents will also be able to take part in qualifying events. Following these qualifying events in Australia, South Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Tahiti, USA, Brazil and Reunion, 13 surfers will qualify for a place in the International Final of the King of the Groms, alongside the two European representatives.
In Australia, the National U16 Championships will serve as the qualifying event, only the top two will go onto the International Final. In Japan, the winner of the National Championships will be selected for the international final of the KOTG.
International Qualifying Dates
Australia – 2 qualifiers
New Zealand – 1 qualifier Gisborne: 22nd March
USA – 3 qualifiers Santa Cruz: 28 February Sebastien Inlet, FL: 6/7 June Hawaii: 7 June
Brazil – 1 qualifier Rio de Janeiro: 2/3 May Ubatuba: 30/31 May
Indonesia – 1 qualifier Kuta Beach, Bali: 9/12 July
South Africa - 1 qualifier Cape Town: 11/22 March Mosseyl Bay: 13/14 June Durban: 15/16 August
Tahiti – 1 qualifier Tbc
Japan – 1 qualifier The winner of the Japan national championships
Reunion Island – 1 qualifier Saint Leu: 23/25 January Roches Noires: 20/22 March Etang Salé: 8/10 May
International Final During the sole French stage on the elite ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro France, the 16 international qualifiers will not only have the honour of surfing the same waves as their illustrious counterparts in the Top 44, but will also get to admire their talents throughout the competition. Last year, the winner of the grand final, Maxime Huscenot (Fra), was crowned King of the Groms 2008 at the surf spot of Estagnots, Seignosse.
For the 2009 edition, his worthy successor will receive a wildcard to take part in the trials for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2010 and the Quiksilver Pro France.
Some of the European surfers vying for the title…
Pierre Rollet – 21 February 1994 (age 15) – France Pierre Rollet is originally from the Basque Country and surfs in Anglet. A shy and discreet young man, Pierre is gradually establishing himself as one of the best surfers in his age category. Twice vice-champion of France, 5th in the European Final of last year's Quiksilver King of the Groms, Pierre Rollet is a big contender for the European final this time.
Tom Cloarec – 7 January 1994 (age 15) – France Originally from Brittany, Cloarec now lives in south-west France, where he has become a skilled rider of the Atlantic beach breaks. European Champion in 2008 and French Champion, Tom is one of the rising stars of French surfing. At Zarautz, Tom will be looking to defend his European status and reach the International Final at Hossegor.
Ramzi Boukhiam – 14 September 1993 (age 15) - Morocco / Holland Ramzi Boukhiam, an adopted son of Anglet, is an ardent fan of the Atlantic swells on the coast of south-west France. At Zarautz, he will have the chance to express himself on familiar waves. Threetimes Champion of Morocco and 4th in the European Junior Championships, Ramzi will this year be looking to win a ticket to the International Final in Hossegor. Surfing alongside his idols like Kelly Slater, at his favourite spot, would be a dream come true for this young aerial specialist.
Francisco Alves – 26 June 1993 (age 15) – Portugal Francisco Alves is one of the biggest names in surfing in this age category. A barrel specialist, Francisco loves riding the long waves at Ericeira, Portugal's surfing Mecca. For the 2009 edition of the Quiksilver King of the Groms, the young Portuguese surfer will have a wild card for the European final. But he will be going all out to prove he's worthy of a place in the international final.
Ian Fontaine – 11 June 1993 (age 15) – France Ian Fontaine is one of those irrepressible Breton surfers, firmly attached to their spots and their roots. Originally from Quimper, Ian was the first Breton to become French Surfing Champion in 2007. Fourth in the ISA Junior World Championships at Seignosse in 2008, his presence once again shows that the Quiksilver King of the Groms brings together the very best in this age category from Europe and around the world.