Huge Success for Team England at the Eurosurf Junior Champs
Last weekend saw Team England Juniors score a historic result at the 2022 Eurosurf Junior Championships, picking up three wins, a second place and finishing fourth overall! We caught up with the winners, including dryrobe® Ambassador and new U16 Boys’ champ, Lukas Skinner to find out more about this incredible performance.
This is the third year in row that we’ve been the headline sponsors of the Team England Junior Squad, supporting the development of the country’s best young surfers.
This funding means these exceptional groms have access to top-level coaching, dedicated support staff, structured training plans to help their progress and the ability to train at The Wave in Bristol.
It’s been phenomenal to watch the team progress and grow in that short space of time and results like these are testament to the hard work that all the groms, coaches, staff and volunteers at Surfing England have put in over the years.
Jamie Wride, the Team England Juniors manager, explains the level of commitment shown by the team:
“There is no easy way to the top of the European standings. The standard is so high with many world finalists competing in the European Games and you’ve got to be across all aspects of your game; technical skills, competition strategy and mental and physical resilience to push through a long week of heats and then dominate finals. I’m so proud of all of our team, these young athletes have grafted hard and delivered some historic performances for their country.”
Due to the pandemic, this was the first Eurosurf Junior Championship in 3 years and it didn’t disappoint. The event saw 200 groms from 13 nations across Europe descend on Santa Cruz, Portugal for this festival of surfing.
In the U18 Girls’ shortboard division Alys Barton, was absolutely buzzing to bring home the title:
“I am super happy to have just come first in the U18 Girls – I am now a European Champion! I am so stoked, it’s such an amazing feeling. The whole team has been so supportive, and everyone has been ripping. It’s been such an awesome event – the waves have been pumping and everyone has been having such a good time. I’m just super stoked to come out with a win!”
Arthur Randle battled through the repechage to take the U18 Boys' longboard title:
“I feel overwhelmed, happy, and relieved. I wouldn’t have got there without the help of the coaches and the team. Conditions were tricky and my competitors surfed really well. Getting knocked out in the first round put my confidence down but I worked my way all the way to the top through repechage – the repechage final put my head in the game and I started to truly believe in myself! Big thanks to everyone involved!”
In the U18 Girls’ Longboard comp, 14-year-old Lola Bleakley surfed brilliantly throughout the event, just losing out in the final seconds, having led for most of the final. Definitely one to watch for the future.
Lukas Skinner was another English surfer who battled through the repechage, winning the U16 Boys’ Shortboard crown. We caught up with dryrobe® Ambassador and new European Champion on his arrival home.
Congratulations Lukas, how does it feel to be European Champion?
Thanks, it feels so good! The biggest thing for me in the comp was that I lost in round 3 and it pushed me into the repechage and I learnt so much from that.
So do you think going through did going through the repechage, helped your focus and your surfing in the run-up to the final?
Yes, a lot! I was surfing more than the other competitors because I was in repechage, and that actually helped my surfing get better as the competition went on.
It got close in the final! How did you cope with the pressure?
It was pretty tight, but I was calmer in the final than any other heat. Because I’d made it so far, I just kind of relaxed and I felt freer.
You pulled off a couple of great ariels in the final! Did you plan these?
I wanted to do them through the whole comp, but I was just building my confidence and then I got to the final and it just clicked. It felt like I could do anything I wanted to!
You were competing against some of your friends in the final, how was that compared to other competitions?
It was really good, paddling out we all spoke to each other, and then once it started it was just game on! We didn't speak to each other until we got out of the water, it was great to be in the final with them.
Team England had an incredible competition with Alys and Arthur picking up wins and Lola grabbing a 2nd place. How was the preparation going into the competition and what support did you all get at the event?
After getting home from competing at the ISA World Junior Champs in El Salvador I was just preparing, training and surfing every day - that was my build-up to the competition. When we got to Portugal for the Euro’s, the whole team was so supportive. We had high expectations and the free surfs before the comp were really good. During the comp, the support from the team and everyone at home was incredible, something I’ve never experienced before!
How did the event compare to the ISA world champs from a few weeks back?
It was good having the Euros after the Worlds because I kind of knew what I was going into. Obviously, it wasn't as big an event (as in how many people there were) but I went there knowing what might happen, after the Worlds I’d learnt that you can't have too high expectations of yourself - every heat is going be as hard as everyone else’s.
What’s next for you this summer?
After Dad goes to America for the WSL World Longboard tour, we’ve both got Boardmasters - I’m competing in the junior competition and the QS. Then hopefully, I’ll be going to France and we should be having some training camps back in Cornwall. Then I’ve got some pro seniors at the end of the year.