Ian Gouveia steamrolled through the competition, launching the day's proceedings with an impeccable performance to move into Round Four.
"I was lucky to get those good little waves, they stood up for me and I had fun in that heat," he said. "All our crew is staying here with Jerome Sahyoun, he's a local legend and has been very welcoming and giving us a few tips so I'm really thankful. I love it here in Morocco, everything's so different."
Boukhiam had previously clinched the single best score of the heat but had a hard time backing it up and was in a dangerous position up until the final moments of the heat. His opponents' efforts proved insufficient as well, keeping the local favorite's campaign alive on home soil.
"I found it really tough out there, I think we were at that in-between moment of the tide and it didn't make things easy for us," he reflected. "But I'm happy I managed to hang on to second place and the most important is to get through. This morning was quiet as we started early but I'm looking forward to surfing on the weekend, it should be epic!"
In a tense Round Three bout, event number one seed Deivid Silva was extremely picky when it came to wave selection and was sitting in last position when he finally started on his third wave with only seconds on the clock. The Brazilian locked in several good carves and exploited the little left all the way into the beach for a 7.87 buzzer-beater to take the win.
"It was absolutely crazy to wait for the last twenty seconds to catch that last wave," he admitted. "That wave was super nice and I'm stoked to get that win. I'm super happy to be visiting Morocco for the first time."
Heat 5 was the most decisive matchup in terms of the 2016 regional title race as Jorgann Couzinet and reigning European Champion Pedro Henrique took it the water to try and keep their title hopes alive. Couzinet continued his winning streak as Henrique's race was put to rest in Casablanca.
With Dylan Lightfoot unable to advance past the third round of competition here, the African regional rankings are now final with Beyrick De Vries and Faye Zoetmulder taking home the 2016 WSL African Champion Titles.
The women's quarterfinalists were decided as well today, with Pauline Ado leading the show in the opening Round Two matchup. Ado, by advancing into the quarters, has now tied with compatriot Justine Dupont in the European title race, meaning either surfer that finishes ahead of the other in this event will claim the coveted regional crown.
"Justine and I both want to win, here in this event and the European title, and our main goal is to re-qualify as well, so I'll just take it one heat at a time and see what happens," she explained. "Each heat is going to be tougher and tougher now cause we're getting into the man-on-man heats with all the girls that have been ripping this week. It looks like we're getting more swell on the weekend so I look forward to the final stretch in good conditions."
Dupont went on to confirm her excellent form and advanced into the quarters, keeping all the title possibilities pending until the event resumes Saturday.
Ainara Aymat had the tough task to surf the day's final heat at a tricky high tide and managed to find an excellent little runner of a lefthander to lock in multiple turns for the heat's highest single ride of 6.83 and her ticket to the quarters.
"I was really nervous to surf these conditions so I'm super happy to win," she said. "Outside, the rip takes you off the peak but as you start to come in closer to the shore the wave gets really fun. I haven't made past the quarters yet so I'm going to try to relax and hopefully make one more!"
Event officials will once again reconvene at 9:30AM Saturday to assess conditions and plan the last couple of days at the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro Casablanca.
MagicSeaWeed, official forecaster for the WSL Europe Qualifying Series events, calls for "Saturday offers a good chance of offshore conditions, particularly in the morning, although the overnight wind and slightly lower swell period will mean a mix of waves the better sets should be pushing head high and building in the afternoon as a new swell starts to fill in under the more local swell." for Saturday.