CORDOAMA, Portugal (Monday, July 6, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-1 Buondi Pro Junior got underway today at Cordoama, in South Portugal, kicking off the busy European summer with exciting action displayed by some of Europe’s best Under-21 competitors. With four foot (1.2 meter) waves breaking at the consistent beach break location, sixteen heats of the Men’s division were completed for the first day of competition. Half of the event’s top seeds were able to get their start in the event, France’s representative Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) and Germany’s Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU) making the difference in their respective match-ups.
Pierre-Valentin Laborde (Hossegor, FRA), 18, a long time regional Top 10 member and event No.1 seed, came up with solid surfing, the young man unleashing his renowned classic technique to easily advance through to Round 3 of the Buondi Pro Junior. Laborde, who posted a good 13.50 point heat tally out of a possible 20 en route to his first heat win of the summer, showed he was in form and focused towards a first good result this summer.
“I came to Portugal to get the dust off my new boards and do some serious training,” Laborde said. “I’ve just received a few new boards and I feel pretty good with that new equipment so I will try to stay focused and keep things going my way if the conditions give us the opportunity to surf well.”
Laborde, who is been a top regional competitor and former ASP World Junior No. 5, has yet to clinch his first ASP European Junior crown and is considered one if the best French hopes towards the prestigious title. The 18-year-old favorite will now take on other event favorite and former ASP European Junior No. 2 Nicolau Von Rupp (Algarve, DEU), the other inform man of Day 1 of competition.
Nicolau Von Rupp (Algarve, DEU), 18, who is Germany’s best competitive surfer at the moment, lost no time to make his intentions clear and post the day’s highest heat score, an excellent 15.34 point tally out of a possible 20, a crucial first step. Von Rupp, who ousted current ratings’ Top 15 members Felix Delanne (FRA) and Luka Guichard (DEN), showed his promising form today and will be a serious title contender if he makes it through Round 3 tomorrow.
“I am pretty happy to make it through to Round 3 with a good performance,” Von Rupp said. “It is always a good confidence boost to start off an event with a good feeling on your board so I will try to repeat my run next round. My priority this year is however the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) so I have no pressure here but will still try to win the thing for sure.”
Von Rupp, who just graduated from High School, has already surfed a few ASP WQS events this year with promising results including an equal 5th at the ASP WQS 4-Star Protest Vendee Pro last April in France, and will use his growing experience against the solid regional field of surfers in the Buondi Pro Junior.
Other top seeds to advance today were current ASP European Junior No. 2 Joachim Guichard (DEN), rising Moroccan surfer Ramzi Boukiam (MAR) and local 15-year-old favorite Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), definitely one of Portugal’s best up and coming surfers. With the women’s division scheduled to kick off tomorrow and all men’s favorites to paddle out as well, Day 2 of the ASP Grade-1 Buondi Pro Junior will be another action-packed day.
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