Anchor Point has been acting all shy these past few days but it finally revealed itself courtesy of a push of North West swell today for Day 5 of the QS5,000 Pro Taghazout Bay. And it didn't disappoint!
Scores once again soared into the excellent range quickly as surfers shredded the endless walls of Anchors. The whole day was an exhibition of pro surfing at its finest, with current and future Championship Tour competitors blazing through Rounds 4 and 5 on their way to the Quarterfinals.
After a discrete first couple of days where he surfed the wrong side of the tide at Anza, World No.6 Kanoa Igarashi reveled in the overhead, glassy walls of Anchor to claim two heat wins and an exalting performance against fellow Californian Cole Houshmand this afternoon.
"This wave is definitely similar to Snapper and I'm probably going to be riding the same boards there so it's good to get some practice before the first event of the year," he said. "That was insane, I came here hoping to surf heats like that. I've seen Cole grow up competing in junior events and now here and it's amazing. The future of Californian surfing is in good hands."
"That was some of the finest waves I've surfed in a contest in a long time," he admitted. "We are so lucky to be out there surfing with only one other guy out, it's insane, we're letting good waves go through because there are just so many. This is the start of a long year and I'm excited to be in Morocco, discover somewhere new and surf really fun waves with some of my friends."
As conditions peaked, and lines of swell kept rolling in from the outside peak to break as a picture-perfect wall all along the point, the Jake Marshall vs. Thiago Camarao matchup became one for the ages.
The two close friends pushed each other to their limits, threading rides on back-to-back waves and stealing the lead from each other after every exchange. The total scores settled with four excellent waves, Marshall taking the win with 17.64 points (8.77 + 8.87) over Camarao's 17.33 (9.10 + 8.23).
"I already felt like I won even if I was losing going into that last exchange," he reflected. "The waves are just perfect, Shrimpy is a guy who coached me to my first good result and he means a lot to me. It was super special to have a heat against him where we both got great waves and it's perfect out there."
Gracious in defeat, the Brazilian conceded to Marshall's heavy demonstration and kept a huge smile on his face as he came in from one of the most fun heats of his career.
"Jake and I are super close friends so it was so nice to have him in a man-on-man heat," he said. "I knew he was going to blow up and I'd probably need two nines to beat him. This event was too good to be true to be honest, this is one of the best rights on the planet and everybody has just been smashing it."
Vasco Ribeiro and Frederico Morais flew the Portuguese flag high with solid wins over Brazilians Willian Cardosoand Victor Bernardo respectfully. Tristan Guilbaud brought his French flair to upset yesterday's sensation Liam O'Brien in a somewhat slower heat.
Alonso Correatook his spot into the Quarters in a hard-fought battle against Rafael Teixeira and in the last heat of the day, Shane Sykesgot the crowds excited with electric surfing close to the rocks, defeating Lucca Mesinas in the process.
The South African walked in to an elated group of locals and looked visibly emotional himself as he already secured the biggest result of a young career.
"Waves were absolutely firing and it's been a super fun day!" he said. "I'm staying in the little town and am seeing all these people every day there and at the skatepark and they've been super supportive of me in all my heats. I haven't seen this wave at its best but it's definitely very similar to Jeffreys Bay and I surf there a lot so I definitely feel very comfortable out there. J-bay is a bit faster but this wave just has a perfect pace, you can time your turns perfectly and get big scores. The crowd gets you even more pumped up as you paddle back out they're all going mad on the rocks."
With conditions expected to remain ideal for tomorrow Thursday, the inaugural QS5,000 Pro Taghazout Bay is set to potentially wrap around lunchtime. The first call will be at 9:30 a.m at Anchor Point.
Tune in from January 25 - February 1, 2020 and check out all the photos, videos and updates from the Pro Taghazout Bay.