August 4, 2008 : – – Vicente Romero from Spain has been crowned European King of The Groms Champion. He had the highest scoring wave of the final. Surfing strongly on a solid 4ft (1.5m) left, he tore three great off the lip maneuvers and landed a mini air, which added to his 13.17 heat score. His fellow finalists put on a great show to produce a fitting climax to what has been a truly spectacular event.
"I am proud to win today," he said after his victory. "I am happy for me and Spain. We win in the cycling and in the football. It was a wonderful final. I'm really looking forward to surfing against the top 16 in the world. I will go in with no stress, no worries so let's see. I'm excited to surf alongside Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning." He finished his winner's speech with a "Merci a todos!"
The final day of competition at this year's KOTG event has again raised the level of junior surfing in Europe. The sun was scorching, the waves solid, and the crowds lined Le Prévent Beach at Capbreton to watch the action. President of Quiksilver Europe, Pierre Agnes, at the prize presentation thanked everybody for coming to his home-town to make the event special.
The best 32 European surfers aged 16 and under fought it out today but only the top two have earned prestigious wild cards into the World KOTG final. The Europeans will be up against the best young surfers from around the globe who will be here to compete during the Quiksilver Pro France in September. Joining Vicente as a World KOTG finalist will be Dimitri Ouvré from Guadeloupe, who came second today.
"I know I was first at the beginning of the heat," Dimitri concluded. "I had two good waves but at the end of the heat I saw Vicente get good waves so I knew I had to do more. I started to stress." Dimitri is a fast and stylish surfer and surfed two strong lefts. He has surfed solidly throughout the event and we look forward to seeing how he fares against global competition.
In third place was the highest rated local surfer, Mark Audo. Mark's surfing was fast and fluid and he was clearly frustrated in the final, as he couldn't find the waves he wanted. Mark looked obviously disappointed but said, "I want to applaud the top two. It was a great competition and I'd like to say thank you and 'bon surf' to everyone."
Toby Donachie the highest place British surfer really made a name for himself here in France and drew a lot of local support. He had a great event but in the final things didn't go his way. He couldn't find the open-faced waves to do his trademark forehand snaps, or bigger power turns. Yesterday he scored a nine-point ride but after coming through the repercharge rounds today, he couldn't quite continue to find his rhythm. Toby said, "I was stoked to be in the final against such high level surfing. I was pretty tired I think I peaked in my last heat, but I didn't mind having to surf all those heats as I just love surfing.'
The expression session was a crazy spectacle. Surfers were flying through the air trying to outdo each other and the public judged the winner. The loudest cheers went out to William Aliotti. He took his place at the prize giving alongside the four finalists. Colorful confetti and champagne (alcohol free!) was exploding everywhere and the top two surfers went home with limited edition black KOTG surfboards.
The colorful and classy prize giving ceremony watched by a crowd of hugely enthusiastic spectators could easily have been mistaken for an ASP World Tour event. It is very likely we will see these young guns taking the place of the likes of Kelly Slater et al on that podium in the years to come!
Quiksilver King of the Groms 2008 Final Results
1/ Vicente Romero (Esp)
2/ Dimitri Ouvré (St Barth)
3/ Marc Audo (Fra)
4/ Toby Donachie (UK