The Anfaplace Pro Casablanca resumed for a fourth consecutive day of action with a building swell on offer and waves in the three-to-five foot range all day on the Moroccan beachbreak.
The women's Quarters launched the show this morning with an all-Argentinian matchup between Josefina Ane and Lucia Cosoleto. Two relatively unfamiliar faces, but up-and-coming talents from South America who will likely draw more attention in years to come. Josefina got the better of their exchanges and moved into the Semis for the second time this season.
"I'm super happy, I got some fun waves and did my best, hopefully I can continue and win a couple more heats! " she said. "It was great to share the heat with Lucia, surfing in Argentina is growing and hopefully more girls can be encouraged to get into it and travel around the world with us."
The second Quarter was the heat everyone waited for, with the last remaining contender in the European Women's Title race Garazi Sanchez-Ortun up against Yolander Hopkins. The Portuguese surfer edged out the Basque and Garazi who needed a runner-up or better to overtake Carol Henrique failed to keep her title race alive.
Carol, who bowed out early in Round One two days ago, was officially crowned the 2017 European Champion when the final buzzer sounded, two years after her brother Pedro.
"This year has been incredible for me!," she said. "I had my first win in a QS event in Zarautz and I knew it wouldn't be easy to win the European title. Thank god everything went my way and I am super happy to be the European Champion! Now I'm even more motivated for what is to come!!"
The men's third round followed and as the swell kept building, guys started dropping massive scores for their commitment in some meaty sections on both lefts and rights. Noe Mar McGonagle continued to impress and dropped the biggest single score of the whole event so far, a near-perfect 9.80 for a combo of radical backhand turns on a solid left.
"There's good size and you just have to find the ones that have a lip to hit," he explained. "I was in second and a little bit nervous, sitting on that south peak, and before the heat I watched the ocean and hesitated between two peaks. So I made the move to the north and found the 9. The inside over there had a great section and you can get a good score even without doing much on the outside. I'm super stoked and excited to keep going in the event."
Jorgann Couzinet who was recently introduced to the sweet taste of victory, kept his Moroccan campaign alive with similar excellent surfing for a solid 17.03 total. His Round Four matchup with Noe Mar should be one for the ages, let's hope waves keep pumping on Saturday!
Gatien Delahaye, who placed runner-up in this event in 2015, came back to his best form today and was the next surfer to get everyone excited. A slightly less powerful surfer, Gatien makes up for it with a little progressive touch and has just as many chances to make the finals again in Casa.
"Waves weren't easy and I couldn't really hear the scores out there so I'm really happy with how that heat turned out," he said. "It looks like the swell is still building so I may have to change boards for a bigger one tomorrow but otherwise I'll just stick to my routine and hope to make a few more. I remember everything about my Final from two years ago so I'll try to make it again and win it hopefully."
The last three heats were just icing on the cake of an already epic day of surfing, with former CT athlete Raoni Monteiro , Matthew McGillivray, Ruben Vitoria and defending event champion Deivid Silva all scoring incredible waves over 9 points for their spots into Day Five.
Surfers and event officials will reconvene Saturday at 10:45 a.m to reassess conditions. The next two rounds of men are on standby, while the women's Semis and Final are OFF Saturday and scheduled to happened Sunday.
Check out all the photos, videos and updates right here.