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Europe's Surfing Forecast is Brighter Than Ever

If Frederico Morais, pre-Pipe Vans Triple Crown ratings leader and WQS No.3 was feeling a debt of gratitude to the late viscount Ted Deerhurst, son of the 11th Earl of Coventry and Europe's first-ever pro tour surfer, he was keeping it to himself.

Frederico Morais placed second in Heat 3 of Round Four at the VANS World Cup of Surfing at Sunst Beach, Hawaii today. Frederico Morais late-season dominance sent the European surf exchanges soaring. WSL / Kelly Cestari

In all probability, he was too distracted as he took his plaudits doused in podium champagne at Sunset last Sunday, justifiably wearing a grin as wide as the Vasco da Gama bridge in his native Lisbon. Having made two Hawaiian finals in succession to qualify for the 2017 Samsung Galaxy Men's World Championship Tour at the last gasp, the British aristocrat and ‘78 Smirnoff Semifinalist at that very same Sunset Beach was likely far from his thoughts.

It might not be outrageous to suggest that the 24-year-old Portuguese was altogether unaware of the inroads made by Deerhurst in becoming Europe's first full time tour pro in 1977.

Joan Duru winning Heat 11 of Round Three at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, Hawaii today. Duru's backhand has long been regarded as scary good in the Old Continent. Watch out world. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Just shy of forty years later, Morais now spearheads a trio of Europeans to make the latest succession to the top table of elite professional surfing, along with Italy's Leo Fioravanti and France's Joan Duru.

Since that time, Euro surfing has seen false dawns, golden generations, barren patches, freakish lone talents as well as its fair share of next big things.

Jeremy Flores placed second in Heat 12 of Round Two at the VANS World Cup of Surfing at Sunst Beach, Hawaii today. Jeremy Flores, the most successful European surfer ever, will be getting a nice dose of reinforcements in 2017. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Jeremy Flores is by far and away the most successful (unless you count British-born ‘89 World Champ Martin Potter), who came on tour amidst a wave of optimism in 2007, shortly thereafter to be joined by half a dozen other fellow red passport carriers to make up an auspicious Euro CT crew numbering 7 by the end of the decade.

European pro surfing was flourishing, the path to the elite level for its proteges was clear; get on the QS early, travel extensively, learn the venues. Get invaluable Hawaiian experience under your belt ideally by early-mid teens, but hope not to have to need to it in a qualification run.

Leonardo Fioravanti during Round 3 at the QUiksilver Pro France. Fioravanti's surfing bears the hallmarks of a classic Italian sports car -- fast, easy on the eye. WSL / Damien Poullenot

Because super coaches, aspiring pros and armchair fans alike will readily understand the prudence of nailing as many QS points on the board as possible during the season, ideally in front of a swollen hometown summer beach crowd, before the infamous squeaky bum time on the North Shore come November.

And after a period of relative qualification quiet, the Euros are back.

And not just back to make up numbers as also-rans, but intent on taking names.

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) .Anglet16 In 2017, the Samsung Galaxy Men's Championship Tour will be flying the Italian tricolore for the first time ever thanks to Fioravanti. WSL / Laurent Masurel

Because 2016's trio of Euro qualifiers have to potential for serious Championship Tour feather ruffling, and some.

Morais is a former Vans Triple Crown rookie winner, leads The 2016 Vans Triple Crown 2016 pre Pipe, and has multiple wildcard wins under his belt at the expense of the likes of Fanning and Slater. None of the above are bad for your CT self esteem.

Marc Lacomare placed second in Semifinal Two at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, Hawaii today. France's Marc Lacomare has been another standout in 2016. He moved 40 spots up the rankings this year, finishing at No. 23. You can expect more climbing ahead. WSL / Kelly Cestari

Fioravanti has been groomed for greatness since a mere micro grom, and having broken his back at Pipe two years ago as a boy, has come back a man. Not only did he secure his tour spot before Labor Day, but also blew minds with one of the clips of the year from a particularly nasty Nias.

Duru, perhaps the biggest natural talent of the lot, narrowly missed out (on equal points) in 2009 and has an ominous air about him, a sort of unsettling quiet where Gallic flair meets international focus.

Frederico Morias prior to his Round Four heat. Coming into Hawaii needing to make two finals, while not impossible, is certainly inadvisable. Fred, though, had other ideas. WSL / Ed Sloane

The three rookies will join the veteran Flores to make up a potent Euro quartet in 2017.

But like any revolution, it's not just about the vigor of the vanguard, but also the readiness of reinforcements.

French powerhouse Marc Lacomare came up just a single result short of the qualification party this year, as he did in 2014, and will be among the favorites for the 2017 Qualifying Series.

Maxime Huscenot (FRA) .Billabong Cascais Pro 16 Maxime Huscenot has been a consistent QS standout since winning the World Junior Championships, and seems ready to make the next step. WSL / Laurent Masurel

Behind him, former World Junior champ Maxime Huscenot's studious application to both points and progression bodes extremely well, while Ramzi Boukhiam, stablemate and travel companion of Fioravanti has seen a qualification campaign close up and would surprise few by stepping up in 2017.

of course, a lot change change out on Tour. Vagaries of chance, form, fitness and focus, the whims of mother ocean will each have their say.

Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) Placed 1st in Heat 3 of Round Two at Quiksilver Pro France 16 Frankly, Europeans don't need much of an excuse to party, so they'll be taking advantage of the bright forecast to celebrate. WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

But for now at least, a palpable change is in the air. The mercury is rising, promising a period of fair weather and good fortune.

Several eras have passed since Viscount Deerhurst gave up the gray skies of England to take on the world.

In 2017, dominant period of European High Pressure looks intent on settling in.

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