In an exciting conclusion to the event in front of a packed audience, Gatien Delahaye (FRA) defeated Carlos Muñoz (CRI) at the inaugural Claro Open Pro - Copa Tubos. The 21-year old Frenchman caught the best waves on Finals Day at the lefthand pointbreak of Señoritas, Punta Hermosa and was visibly stoked as he was chaired up the beach by his fellow countrymen. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) and Marcos Correa (BRA) both earned equal 3rd place finishes after reaching the Semifinals.
Similar to Owen Wright (AUS), Delahaye's lanky frame gave his backhand an incredible advantage; throwing buckets of spray after each big turn and added a modern twist with his tail-high air reverses. After scoring a 5.67 on his first wave, he caught a long left which included two tweaked-out airs for an 8.83. Despite flying under the radar throughout the week, Gatien upped his game when it counted most.
"I can't even express in words how I'm feeling right now," said Delahaye. "There's so much work that I've been putting in for the past 2-3 years that is behind this result. This is an unbelievable feeling and I just wanted to thank everyone that supports me, especially my parents. I won my first QS 1500 last year. So, this year my goal was to win a QS 3000. I checked that off my list so mission accomplished and I hope I can go a lot further."
Delahaye also commented on his approach to the waves at Señoritas: "Once I reached the Quarters, I knew that I had nothing left to lose, so I tried to show as much as I could in terms of my surfing. I grew up on this grindy little left in Guadalupe, so I had that blowtail reverse on lock. The waves here are so much better than most events on the QS, so my strategy was to do big turns on the face and then throw the reverse if I got the chance."
With so many goofy-footers excelling at the lefthand pointbreak, the Final ended up being a battle of regular-footers with Carlos Muñoz taking a quick lead after earning a 7.00 from the judges. While the Costa Rican stayed active collecting an additional 6.93, it was not enough to overtake Delahaye's illustrious performance.
"I'm super happy but I wish I could have won the event," said Muñoz. "This is the second time I've reached the Final of a QS 3,000 but still haven't gotten 1st place. I knew this was going to be a very competitive event just from the number of talented surfers that were here, but I'm still super stoked for such an amazing week in Peru. The last time I was here was in 2011, so it's been a long time. I feel like I'm a more experienced surfer now and this result is a good strong step in the direction of making it onto the CT next year. Pura Vida!" exclaimed Muñoz.
The Finalists' results at the QS 3,000 have catapulted both surfers into the Top-10 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings, removing Cam Richards (USA) and Jessé Mendes (BRA) in the process. Delahaye went from 46th to 8th place after winning 3,000 points, while Muñoz went to 10th from earning 2,250 points at Señoritas. Alex Ribeiro now sits in 3rd place overall on the QS after moving up from 5th place.
Ribeiro displayed lightning-quick forehand surfing throughout the week in Peru and has maintained his top-level performance after winning the QS 6,000 in Newcastle, Australia. The Brazilian is keen to make it back onto the CT after a rookie year marred by injury.
"Today was kind of weird. There were still amazing waves, but they didn't come as often as the other days and you still had to find the ones that broke well down the line," said Ribeiro. "I felt like we caught a bad break surfing while the tide wasn't optimal, but Gatien (Delahaye) found the longest walls and did his part. I feel like I still need to keep this rhythm up throughout the year, but I felt like I surfed good heats and now my focus is on the QS 10,000 and 6,000s," concluded Ribeiro.
The crowd at the event site at Señoritas surpassed everyone's expectations, showing just how important surfing is to the Peruvian fans. Having direct ties to the ancient Mochica and Chimu civilizations that used the earliest forms of surf-craft, the "caballitos de totora" (Spanish for small horse) for fishing/transportation (and stoke!), all modern-day surfers and fans alike are fully aware of their connection to the ocean.
After a successful event with great waves overall, event organizer Franz Tomasevich looks to increase the status of the Claro Open Pro - Copa Tubos in the following years.
"We had some time during the week to sit down with the representatives from the WSL and the feedback we received was extremely positive. We all feel that this event could easily be a QS 6,000/10,000 or even one day become a CT event," said Tomasevich. "We feel that this event is very special to Peru and Latin America overall. With some additional incentive from the private sector, we can have this event be a QS 10,000 next year. I'd like to thank the support from all our sponsors and next year we'll definitely see everyone again at Señoritas!"