Applying his surgical local knowledge of the right-hand point at Ribeira de Ilhas in Ericeira, Morias showed that he was CT Ready and surfed his way to the top of the podium at the MEO Portugal Cup of Surfing as he builds momentum for his return in the 2021 season.
"It's really good to win at home. It's been an amazing few days," said relieved Morais on the beach after hanging on for the win and shouting out all the CT and Portuguese surfers in the draw.
On the women's side, Johanne Defay went back-to-back in Europe -- winning both the French Rendez-Vous and The MEO Portugal Cup -- to earn her second victory in as many events and the 2020 Euro Cup title. As a consolation for his runner-up result to Morais, Ferreira claimed the men's Euro Cup crown.
"It feels great, it's super fun in the water right now," smiled Defay after besting Basque rising star Nadia Erostarbe.
Defay's run on Finals Day started off by dispatching Portugal's Carolina Mendes in the Quarters, then Israel's Anat Lelior in the Semis, before ultimately taking out Erostarbe for the event win -- all courtesy of her special blend of power surfing, most notably, her signature layback gouges.
In the longstanding tradition of European surf adventure, Defay's spent her time in Portugal soaking up the van life in the parking lot of the event site. Camping out with her boyfriend in their van, she kept her program simple, focusing on her surfing and what the conditions in the Atlantic were offering up.
"I'm definitely going to stay around a little bit ... just try to find some good waves around here, cruise, then head back to France," said Defay of her plans for after the event.
"It's not like we have so much off time usually on the Tour to take a break and enjoy the van, and Portugal is a really good destination for that sort of trip," she added. "For a CT, I would never do that."
But this isn't the Championship Tour, it's the WSL Countdown Series, and as surfers continue to train and prepare for the return of full-time competition in 2021, taking the time to enjoy the Portuguese coast and all that it offers has been a positive for all the competitors as they continue to build momentum and motivation for next season.
For Morais, the competitive fire's burning as white hot as he is now. He's the only person to have cracked the code on how to beat Ferreira in a Final since Jeremy Flores got him at the Quiksilver Pro France last year.
Morais, who has re-qualified and will return to the CT in 2021, had a huge day. He got rolling with a pair of eights in the Quarters against Aritz Aranburu, then edged out Kanoa Igarashi in a nail-bitter in the Semis. And applying his local knowledge and a huge amount of patience in the Final, he picked is waves accordingly and put Ferreira in a spot where he could never catch up. Dropping an 8.83 with ten minutes left in the heat, Ferreira hunted along the inside but was never presented with an opportunity to muster a response.
"It doesn't count for points, but surfing against Italo, Kanoa, Aritz, Alfonso, it was a pleasure, and yes, stoked to come out with a win," Morais said.
Up next, the WSL Countdown Series returns to the Land Down Under for next stop of the Australian Grand Slam. There appears to be some swell brewing for the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, and some of Australia's best surfers are primed and ready to pull the jersey back on. Stay tuned for the latest event info as things continue to develop.
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