The first fireworks came in the day's second heat with lots of waves surfed and a game of musical chairs for the two qualifying spots. Erwan Blouin punted for an 8.17, Noa Dupouy and Daiki Tanaka battled on the wave face while Arashi Kato struggled to find the right sections unfortunately.
When the dust settled it was 15 year-old Frenchman Dupouy in first, and Tanaka squeezing into second with a last-ditch effort on a good right.
"It was a fun heat with lots of waves and everyone was surfing well," Dupouy said. "I felt good out there I was having fun and I managed to find good waves when I had priority so I could improve my scores continuously."
The junior surfer has been training for a few days in the area, spending maximum time in the lineup and it showed as he selected the right waves to build a healthy 13.57 total to advance.
"It's my first time in Morocco and I've been hanging with Othmane (Choufani)," he added. "I have to thank him for all the tips he's been giving me it's been super helpful. This place is awesome with great waves, cool people and very good food. This is only my second QS ever so no pressure I'm here to learn more than anything and having fun."
Californian Kei Kobayashi stamped his authority on Heat 21 with explosive surfing in the little punchy rights of Anza. The light regular foot chose a different, some would say riskier option, on the smaller inside rights that paid off big time as he dismantled one to a 7.83, the second highest score of the day, for the win.
"I've been working really hard at my gym back home with some of my trainers Kurt, Kevin, Mario and Sam," he explained. "I've been dreaming of coming to Morocco since I'm a little kid so I'm really stoked to be here. I'm good friends with Ramzi (Boukhiam) and he's been telling me how good the surf is down here for a while. I wanted to make a sick little surf trip out of it and hopefully get a good result too."
With improved conditions expected tomorrow, Monday January 27, event officials have invited surfers to a 8:15 a.m call to potentially run the second round at Anza again, which will see the event's top seeds take it to the lineup. World No. 6 Kanoa Igarashi will be surfing in the first heat of the day.
Tune in from January 25 - February 1, 2020 and check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Pro Taghazout Bay.