French wave-rider Pauline Ado, 17, has just made ASP history as the first non-Australian female to claim the ASP Junior World Title, defeating Hawaiian opponent Bethany Hamilton, 18, in a hard-fought final at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Clean 1-metre waves were on offer at Sydney’s legendary North Narrabeen beach today, where the dramatic women’s action commenced with the quarterfinals before culminating with the crowning of Ado as the newest ASP World Junior Champion.
“I’m speechless," Ado said. “I am so stoked. This is a dream come true. I can’t believe that I won. When I woke up this morning, I never imagined that this would happen."
While her opponent Hamilton exhibited patience throughout the day, Ado wasted no time in busying herself on both the lefts and rights in the final, and although the lead flipped back-and-forth, it was the young Frenchwoman who sealed the deal with a solid 13.43 out of a possible 20.
“I didn’t watch Bethany on her last wave, but I could hear the crowd and the commentators in the background," Ado said. “I thought she had won, but luckily for me, it wasn’t the case."
Ado now joins the prestigious ranks of past ASP World Junior Champions Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18 – all three past champions qualifying for the prestigious ASP Women’s World Tour within one season of claiming the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
“I have so much confidence now going into 2009," Ado said. “I really want to do well in the ASP WQS and hopefully qualify for the ASP Women’s World Tour, but for now, I’m just stoked to be ASP World Junior Champion."
In addition to being crowned ASP World Junior Champion, Ado will also receive a guaranteed seed into the second-to-last seeded round of all ASP WQS events in 2009, giving the young natural-footer a great advantage as she vies for a position on the elite ASP Women’s World Tour in 2010.