A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Laulhe Wins the 2008 Vendee Surf Pro
LA SAUZAIE, France – Romain Laulhe (Anglet, FRA) won the 4-Star rated Vendee Surf Pro in 3 to 5 ft (1.2 to 1.5 meter) waves today, his maiden Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) crown.
Laulhe, who defeated runner-up Luke Campbell (AUS) in a 35-minute man-on-man final, controlled the battle with power surfing and flying maneuvers to clinch the crown.
Laulhe, 23, former top ASP Europe Junior surfer, showed great determination and improvment throughout the event to secure his best result to date by taking the win in the Vendee Surf Pro.
Laulhe, who posted a solid 15.33 point heat tally (out of possible 20) including an excellent 8.00 point ride to best Campbell’s 14.33 heat score, goes first on the ASP European Pro Surf Tour ratings before the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in Scotland.
“I do not realize yet I have won the event,” Laulhe said. “I am so stoked to eventually get the win in such a big event and I cannot thank all the support I have had enough. It was a great event and to come out on top makes me feel over the moon.”
Laulhe, who trained hard physically this winter, showed solid surfing on his way to victory.
“I have been training hard to achieve my goals,” Laulhe said. “It is so good to see things can change and I can feel like from my boards to my mental, everything was right this week. I want to offer this win to all the people who have been supporting for so long.”
Luke Campbell (Western Australia, AUS), 23, who posted 14.33 points out of possible 20 in the final, got the best result of his career as well with his runner-up finish.
Campbell, who will be a full-time World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaigner this year, clinched 1313 points and US$ 5 000 of prizemoney and jumps in the WQS Top 50.
“I am stoked with this final,” Campbell said. “Romain got all the best waves and eventhough I tried hard there wasn’t any proper opportunity to catch-up. The waves were good though this week and it is my result ever.”
Campbell will attend the ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in Scotland next week and hopes for another good result.
“I went through a few rounds in Margaret River, made the final today, so I just hope things keep going right,” Campbell said. “I have been having a good time in the last few weeks so anything can happen.”
Eric Rebiere (FRA), a former Vendee Surf Pro champion and 2005 ASP World Tour member, placed equal 3rd of the Vendee Surf Pro. Rebiere, who has no sponsor at the moment, will be a favorite on this year’s ASP European Pro Surf Tour.
“I did not get the good waves during the semifinal,” Rebiere said. ” I hurt my hipp on the second wave and I feel really bad right now. I hope I will be able to surf in Scorland.”
Rebiere, who spent a year among the ASP Top 45 in 2005, remains a top European surfer.
“I will be focusing this year on all European events,” Rebiere said. “I have no sponsor at this point and it is expensive to travel so I will attend all regional events and hope to make good. I know good waves are expected for Scotland so I am looking forward to it.”
Blake Wilson (AUS), fourth best scorer of the Vendee Surf Pro, lost in Semifinal No. 1 today to fellow countryman Campbell in a tight heat.
Wilson, who was No.75 on the ASP WQS ratings before the Vendee Surf Pro, will jump into the Top 50 with his equal 3rd place and 1125 point reward.
“Only a few waves came through and I lacked a bit of luck to catch up with Luke,” Wilson said. “I am still stoked with this semifinal and I really had a good time in France for my first event here.”
Wilson, who already made the quarterfinals twice this year, is in good form and will attend the Asp WQS 6-Star Prime next week in Scotland.
“I sure feel really good at the moment,” Wilson said. “I just have to keep it up and I will try hard to stay on this good roll. It was a wave-starved heat but looking at the bigger picture, it is very positive.”
Justin Mc Bride (USA), Hugo Savalli (REU), Jean Sebastien Estienne (GLP) and Arthur Bourbon (GLP) were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Vendee Surf Pro but all achieved their best result to date with an equal 5th finish.
NOTE: All news, videos, podcasts and photos are available on www.aspeurope.com.