Given what we've seen from Italo over the last week, it's safe to say there's nobody hotter in surfing right now than the people's champ. Smiling and stoked, donning the yellow leader jersey, on a day that saw challenging conditions, he made it look like he was having the time of his life.
Building momentum all the way through the Final, he made short work of Spain's Andy Criere and is now undefeated in his last three starts.
"That was a great warm-up, congrats to all the boys," said Ferreira. "Last week I won in Brazil, and that was more like a fun event, this was more like a real contest."
Going back to his World Title-clinching victory last year at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Ferreira is now undefeated since December and has won the only two events he's surfed in during the 2020 WSL Countdown Series. Think he's ready to defend his World Title? Better yet, think anybody can stop him?
For Defay, who'd been dominant all day, she squeaked out a last-second wave to steal the win from 2017 World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro and spare herself what would have been a massive upset by the Tahitian.
"It was a crazy day," said an exhausted but satisfied Defay.
The day saw the beachbreak at Anglet transition through a myriad of moods, but both Ferreira and Defay were both able to adapt and embrace the adversity.
"I love this challenge," smiled Ferreira. "It's nice because we can catch a lot of waves and put a show on ... and that's what I'm looking for."
After going on hold briefly in the afternoon to wait for the tide to become more favorable and the conditions to clean up, Defay got the Semifinals underway with a clinical performance, deftly applying her familiarity with the lineup and her special brand of power surfing.
In the next Semi, the Tahitians continued to make their presence felt as Fierro faced off against local favorite Pauline Ado. Given the sloppy surf and tidal challenges, the Tahitian contingent's performances were statement-making. The next generation isn't just lethal at Teahupo'o, their beachbreak game is on point too.
In the quarterfinals, Kauli Vaast almost stopped the Brazilian freight train. Coming off his win under the lights last week in Brazil, the 2019 World Champ made the trip across the Atlantic to see if he could keep the momentum going in the Euro Cup of Surfing. It was almost over before it began as Vaast beat him in the opening round and almost had him in the Quarters.
Leading in the waining minutes of their duel, Ferreira found a couple last-minute lefts that offered puntable sections and gave him the scores he needed to keep his run alive. He never looked back.
And while Ferreira may have dodged an upset, Championship Tour vet Kanoa Igarashi wasn't so lucky. Criere, who got a spot in the event at the last minute when Jeremy Flores withdrew due an injury, dominated Igarashi to knock the fan favorite out of the comp.
Both Ferreira and Defay will be wearing the yellow leader jersey heading into stop number two of the Euro Cup in Portugal. With the forecast looking solid for the MEO Portugal Cup of Surfing there's still plenty of action to come from the Old World.
"I'm so excited to surf Portugal," added Ferreira. "We're going to drive to Portugal right now."