Oakley Presents the Lacanau Jr. Pro
Finals held in consistent conditions. The day started with a delay in the schedule as surprising 3-4 ft more consistent waves were breaking on the competition spot when the staff arrived. In order to leave the tide to rise and get over the high sand bank, the first quarterfinal got underway at 9.30 am. With a few early spectators on the beach, the show didn’t wait long to start as Romain Laulhe (Fra), actually second on the European junior ratings, expressed his talent confirming his good form of the summer to grab the second spot in the semis, led by an unstoppable Ben Dunn (Aus) who once again managed to get an 8+ score feeling no pressure at all.
First upset of the day came with the elimination of last year’s winner Jean Da Silva (Brz) who got smothered as a few seconds were remaining on the official timer by fellow countryman Alejo Muniz (Brz). The other big scorer of the contest so far Ola Eleogram (Haw) confirmed his intention to reach the highest step of the podium and surfed over the top joining new school manoeuvres as well as classic turns on the walls of the central beach of Lacanau. The quarters were finished at 11 am, breaking the Oakley pro junior dream for Romain Cloitre (Reu) and actual European junior leader Joan Duru (Fra).
The first semi-final was “no surprise” as Ola Eleogram (Haw) and Ben Dunn (Aus) secured their tickets for the final of the Oakley Pro Junior event, the Hawaiian getting first place. It was a deception for French rider Romain Laulhe who has been showing great efficiency since the beginning of the European junior leg. Michel Bourez (Pyf) missed the rendez-vous for his semi-final finishing the heat with an interference and loosing his third position with disappointment. He has been doing well in all the events but he could have done better as the conditions were more adapted to his powerful surfing style. Anyway, the good surprise came from the only Moroccan surfer of the circuit, Abdel El Harim (Mar), who showed maximum commitment for each of his rides, his determination to reach his first pro junior final rewarded him with the second position.
With two Hawaiians, one Australian and one Moroccan, the Oakley Pro Junior 2005 had fulfilled their wish to attract all the best international young guns. Everything got on fire when the pressure raised by the time the last four surfers of the week had grabbed their coloured rashguards. Ben Dunn opened the show with a 7+ ride and gave the start to one of the highest performances witnessed on the pro junior event of Lacanau. Taking off on every wave, the four riders just ripped the 4 ft set faces breaking in front of the main site, making the crowd cheer on every radical move. The man of the event so far, Ola Eleogram (Haw) then took control of the heat as 12 minutes were remaining, looking so relaxed as he brought together amazing radicality and power finishing once again his wave with an air 360. With a 9 and a 6, Hank Gaskell (Haw) needed a combination of two waves. Ola just secured his lead up to the end even though Abdel El Harim (Mar) and Ben Dunn had the possibility to change the situation as they both needed a 7 score. Then the ocean offered less waves and a disappointed Dunn had to leave the water on the third step of the podium, overtook by an inform Abdel El Harim who definitely was the surprise of this final.
“I’ve come to France for the WQS leg and this Pro Junior was only for me a way of staying fit in between the main events. I’m so stoked right now, I was really focused but feeling no pressure and that gave me this victory I have been waiting for a long time after lots of pro junior semi-finals and finals,” confessed the 2005 Oakley Pro Junior Champion.
Congratulations to all the contestants and organizers for the great show, during these three days it offered many opportunities to the future generation of surfing professionals. The public was present, the waves were here under a beautiful sky, and the best ever level of competition was to offer. Thanks for reading; we hope you enjoyed the show from Lacanau, where the best surfers of the world will meet Monday for the start of the Sooruz Lacanau Pro 6 Star WQS Event.