The Anfaplace Pro Casablanca resumed in smaller and cleaner conditions with glassy three-to-four foot lefts and rights breaking this morning at Anfaplace. The men's Round Three paddled out first before the women's second round continued.
But Alex Ribeiro made the most convincing effort from the Auriverde crew in Heat 2 with six good waves and his best two of 8.33 and 7.63 for the day's highest heat total. The former Championship Tour surfer currently ranked 22nd on the Qualifying Series, will try to keep building momentum going into the bigger QS events remaining this season.
The European regional title race is still going strong with two surfers in Morocco Gatien Delahaye and Ramzi Boukhiam potentially able to overtake the current leader Jorgann Couzinet who isn't competing in Casa this week. Delahaye is carrying huge momentum from a recent win in Anglet and a 5th in Pantin, but Boukhiam can count on massive support from the locals in Casa and is never to be counted out.
"Honestly the European title is not even on my mind," Delahaye said. "I just came here to enjoy, surf heaps and try to keep the good rhythm I've had lately. I came second here three years ago so I'd love to win this event and finally beat the Brasilians who have always been stronger until now."
All the Moroccan hopes will now solely lie on Boukhiam's shoulders as Aboubakar Bouaouda was eliminated today. Boukhiam's performance in Round Three was impeccable with great wave selection and a demonstration of backhand surfing in the clean little rights at Anfaplace.
"My game plan was clear and I knew that little right would start working in between the inside and outside peaks," Boukhiam said. "I got a lot of minor scores but I wanted to keep the rhythm and not be sucked out by the rips. I'm super tired at the moment so I'm going to go rest and hopefully come back tomorrow fired up. I have plenty of friends here and just in general huge support from all the Moroccans so I'll try not to stress too much about it and keep making heats."
The women's event was once again dominated by a Japanese pair, the same than on Day 1, namely Mahina Maeda and Minami Nonaka. Maeda, the current QS No. 17 in the world, has been on a tear since the beginning of the summer and looks poised to clinch an event title this week.
"I got a little too confident with my 7.17 and didn't really find myself on another good wave after that," Maeda said. "I tried to stay under the other surfers and find those medium waves with more open face but really struggled until the end. It's a fun rip bowl but not that easy to negotiate."
But Maeda's road to the final won't be a walk in the park and the threat could come from her compatriot Nonaka, some of the remaining Europeans in the event like Garazi Sanchez-Ortun or Tessa Thyssen or even a couple of Central and South Americans Leilani McGonagle and Josefina Ane.
The women's event has now moved into the two-surfer format for the Quarterfinals onwards.
Yesterday afternoon, Aussie surfers in this event received a surprise visit from their Ambassador in Morocco, Her Excellency Berenice Owen-Jones, who came to support her national athletes and discover the scene at the Anfaplace Pro Casablanca.
Surfers and event officials will reassess conditions at 9:45 a.m Friday at Anfaplace.
Check out all the photos, videos and updates right here from September 4-9, 2018!