Europe Set For Historic 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Surfing across the European continent has never been as popular as it is at the moment, I think that’s something every surfer can agree on. With the explosion of SUP, popularisation and media acceptance of the surfing lifestyle, wave pools etc....surfing is enjoying it’s golden hour and it seems that with the upsurge in global participants and the inclusion of surfing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that the opportunity for the sport to grow further is being grabbed with both hands by the powers that be. 

 

Without question European surfing has grown further relative to the rest of the world over the last few years than any one else could have imagined. 2016 was a milestone for the sport on the continent....where to start? Team France winning the ISA World Junior Games held in the Azores was certainly a sign that European nations can not only compete on the same level as the global heavyweights but beat them, and beat them well. Thomas Debierre’s win in the U16 division showing that European nations are now producing talent as capable as anywhere else in the World. 

And of course there was Portugal’s result at the ISA World Games in Costa Rica. Team Portugal finished an outstanding second place overall, one position ahead of the USA and only beaten into second by an incredible overall performance by Team Peru. France also shone in Costa Rica, finishing in fourth place and the fact that Europe had two teams finishing in the top 5 highlights the proliferation of the sport here. Another footnote would be the 2017 WSL Championship Tour roster....which will feature four European surfers; Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joan Duru (FRA) and Frederico Morais (POR), with the latter putting in one of the best Euro performances in Hawai”i since Flores won the 2010 Pipeline Masters. 

 

So, as a European surfer, is it forgivable to have a growing sense of pride and expectation of our surfers? Well, if you look at it logically....no, no it is not. European surfers have as much to offer on the world stage as anyone, and it’s not just founded on a few lucky results. The depth of talent at the moment is outrageous. Of course, as previously mentioned, the Portuguese and French have already recorded outstanding competitive results in 2016 and will naturally look to improve in 2017. But to just highlight those two countries wouldn’t show the entire picture. The talent runs much deeper. Spain goes without saying. A country that has produced surfers such as Gony Zubizaretta and  Jonathan Gonzales is hardly likely to rest on its laurels....and it hasn’t. The junior talent in particular that will take the stage in 2017 is out of this world; well oiled competitors yet flashy and brave at the same time. Yael Pena is one such individual. The junior surfer was a standout at the Euro Junior Games held in Morocco during December 2016, so much so that it almost became headline news if he surfed a heat less than 18 points during the event. When you consider his age (he was competing in the U16 divisions in 2016) his promise for the future is clear. Obviously due to the constraints of word space you can’t mention everyone from these countries here, or from other countries for that matter but im sure we all know who....guys and girls like Ellie Turner and Jack Unsworth (ENG), Jonas Bachan (AUS), Ben Skinner (CHI), Tomas Fernandes (POR), Ariane Ochoa (SPN), Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Alex Uranga (SPN) and Casper Steinfath (DEN).....the list is endless....but all these amongst a host of others spread across the continent are all capable of major international achievement this year. The talent runs deep. But it just goes to show what level of surfing we can expect from European surfers in 2017.