The Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley resumed in stormy conditions for the final day of action and ran through the last three heats to crown the event champion around lunchtime. The podium ceremony was celebrated in the presence of Ana Mendes Godinho, the Tourism State Secretary, who reiterated the support of her agency for the WSL events in Portugal.
Marco Giorgi put the first score of substance five minutes into the Final, with a combination of two good turns on a foamy righthander for a 7.17 and the pole position. Thiago Camarao spent the first half of the Final scouring the lineup and fell on a few tries, before finally finding a big section to hit on his backhand for a 6-point ride.
Unfortunately, both surfers were deprived of more opportunities for the remainder of the Final, and the situation remained unchanged, with Giorgi winning to celebrate his 29th birthday in the best fashion.
"It's my first professional win and a whole new bunch of emotions it's crazy," an emotional Marco stated. "It's a hard job, contests are long and you have to maintain that focus to win heats. Today it went my way and I'm so happy, I can't believe it."
Hailing from Uruguay, Marco had not made a Final since 2014, and will rocket up the rankings with the 3,000 points he pocketed today in Portugal. Surfing without a major sponsor's support this season, the talented regularfooter will be able to concentrate on the biggest events of the season.
"I'm going to try to focus on what I did right in this contest and hopefully replicate it in the next ones," he added. "This result will allow me to be in the Top 100 and surf in the QS10,000s this season. Starting from scratch at the beginning of the year it wasn't an easy goal."
Thiago came to Portugal fresh off a win at the Rip Curl Pro Argentina and continued to dominate, posting big scores throughout the week and eliminating some of the event's favorites. With an added 2250 points on his tally, the Brazilian will make a massive leap in the Qualifying Series going into the rest of the season.
"I did the best I could with the waves I was given but unfortunately it wasn't enough this time," he said. "I'm still stoked with my surfing and everything going on in my life right now. I'm going to keep smiling, try to stay healthy and train well to seriously think about the qualification again. Marco and I grew up together and it was super cool to share this Final with him, I'm so happy for him."
In the opening Semifinal, Hiroto Ohhara couldn't really find the right waves with scoring potential and placed equal-third. The Japanese surfer, whose best QS finish was 34th back in 2015, further cements his spot amongst the current Top 5 and will head home to Japan full of confidence for the next big event on the series.
"I really had no idea where to sit and it was really tough out there to find the waves," he said. "I'm really happy with a good couple of heats I had here and feel great heading to Japan now. People expect me to have a good result there and I'm confident, so I look forward to it."
Current World No.19 Frederico Morais had a strong grip on the second Semifinal halfway through, as he put two good scores on the board early on. Unfortunately, while he struggled to further improve his situation, Thiago on the other hand built momentum and turned the situation in under a few minutes, eventually defeating Frederico, who placed equal-third.
Following the completion of the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Oakley, the current European Qualifying Series Top 5 stands as follows:
1 - Gony Zubizarreta
2 - Jorgann Couzinet
3 - Vasco Ribeiro
4 - Pedro Henrique
5 - Jonathan Gonzalez
For the full rankings, visit this page.
Find out who has it to claim the Santa Cruz Pro from April 25-30, and check out all the content here.