The QS3,000 Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. By Noah Surf House wrapped up today in fantastic fashion with a win for the only Portuguese surfer still in contention, Vasco Ribeiro.
"It feels good to finally win a QS especially here in Portugal," he said. "It was a long day and three intense heats so I'm really tired but now it's done and I'm super happy. Winning in front of friends and family is definitely special."
Coming up against an almost entirely French draw on Finals Day, the surfer from Cascais was slow to start but built momentum throughout the morning and peaked at the perfect time to put an undeniable statement in the Final with 16.67 points on the board.
Ribeiro has been a standout on the Qualifying Series for years but somehow never actually claimed an event win and today changed that with an emotional victory on home soil. The added 3,000 ranking points won today will cement Ribeiro's position inside the European Top 10 synonym of a ticket for the Challenger Series this year. "I was able to surf relatively relaxed with my points from last year but it's great to find that form and get a win right away to confirm it," he added. "I'm happy to follow in Frederico (Morais) footsteps and keep the event title here in Portugal. Now I'll keep working and preparing myself for later this season on the Challengers."
The Final: A One-Way Affair for Ribeiro
Ribeiro was quick to pull the trigger with an incredible 9 point ride on his third attempt for a succession of powerful backhand turns. He found another gem of a left before he even reached the back of the lineup to post a 7.67 and apply pressure on Timothee Bisso.
As time ran out it was apparent the lead built by Ribeiro was insurmountable and Bisso was forced to settle for second place.
The Caribbean surfer now residing in Portugal put his best Qualifying effort together in 2019 and today launched his 2021 campaign beautifully with incredible surfing and a runner-up finish. This result pushed him up to 5th on the European rankings.
"It's been a really good day and unfortunately I was just missing a little bit of rhythm in the Final," Bisso said. "I just want to thank everyone who made this possible. Three months ago I was waiting tables in Guadeloupe just trying to earn a little money to come back to this, so it's very special to be able to compete again."
Larsonneur Continues to Impress in Portugal
The Frenchman from Brittany, Gaspard Larsonneur was unable to match Bisso's incredible momentum in the beginning of their Semifinal and eventually bowed out in equal third place. This marks Larsonneur's career-biggest result in a QS3,000 and will rocket him up the regional rankings, right on the bubble of qualification in 10th place.
"It's always hard to fall short just one heat off the Final," he admitted. "But a third place here at an event with such high level is very satisfying for me, especially after a year off. Now I'm going to rest a little bit because it's been an exhausting week and prepare for Caparica next!"
Vaast Confirms Top European Status
In an unfortunately slow second Semifinal, Tahitian up-and-comer Kauli Vaast struggled to find the right waves to showcase his explosive brand of surfing, and eventually had to settle for equal third place.
However in his first qualifying campaign for the big leagues after an incredible Junior career, Vaast confirmed he is one of the best surfers coming out of the region and one to count on in the race for the Challenger Series this season, currently in 6th position.
"I came here a week early to train with my coach and try to figure out this spot because this wave is extremely hard to read," he explained. "I'm very happy that the work we put in paid off and I was able to find the right ones in my heats, a third place is a very good start for me." With the completion of the Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. By Noah Surf House, here's the current Top 10 in the European rankings:
European Men's QS Top 10:
1 - Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
2 - Vasco Ribeiro (PRT)
3 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
4 - Joan Duru (FRA)
5 - Timothee Bisso (FRA)
6 - Kauli Vaast (FRA)
7 - Charly Quivront (FRA)
8 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
9 - Tristan Guilbaud (FRA)
10 - Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA)
Surfers will now travel down the coast for the upcoming Estrella Galicia Caparica Surf Fest, starting Tuesday, May 18, 2021.
Watch the Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. By Noah Surf House LIVE on the WSL platforms from May 11-16, and check out daily recaps, pictures, videos and more right here.