- WSL / Laurent Masurel
Highlights: Boukhiam and Bonvalot Win SEAT Pro Netanya
Ramzi Boukhiam and Teresa Bonvalot emerge victorious from the 2022 Israeli event.

Teresa Bonvalot and Ramzi Boukhiam have won the Seat Pro Netanya today, claiming victory in the Finals against Nadia Erostarbe and Gatien Delahaye respectively, held in fun three-to-four foot surf at Kontiki beach.

Stop No. 3 of 5 on the 2021-22 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the SEAT Pro Netanya had to navigate a difficult forecast over the past couple of weeks but ended on a high note with beautiful conditions for the finals today.

Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), Netanya 2022 Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

"It's crazy to get my third win already," Bonvalot said. "It's been a lot of work and trying to improve the little things, but besides that it's just pure happiness I'm feeling right now. I came to this event with the same mindset of wanting to have fun and focus on myself and the things I can control."

Teresa Bonvalot, the 22 year-old surfer from Cascais has been a standout on the Qualifying Series for a number of years, but only broke the glass ceiling to claim her first (and second) tour win last year. She is clearly the best European surfer at the moment, coming to Israel ranked first on the regional standings, and will leave with a cemented position atop the leaderboard, and a guaranteed spot in the Challenger Series.

"It's been a crazy two weeks here in Israel," Bonvalot continued. "It's so different from other events, the first day I was so stoked to finally surf in an event again for the first time since November. But then we had so many lay days and when we started again it felt just like another first day back with the nerves and all that. Apart from that I loved the crowds here supporting us and I had a great time."

In the Final it was Erostarbe who put the first score on the board to take the upper hand early in the matchup. Bonvalot looked a little out of sorts in the opening ten minutes but the Portuguese quickly found her rhythm again as she surfed a decent first wave to close the gap. She then started on a punchy left and absolutely destroyed the poor thing, locking in two huge turns to post a near-perfect 9.63 and take a massive lead over the Basque surfer.

Nadia Erostarbe (EUK), Netanya 2022 Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Erostarbe tried to fight back on a few waves, but as time ran out the Portuguese's lead was too much to overcome and Bonvalot walked away with the win.

The surfer from Zarautz, who is a 2-time winner on the QS, put together a great campaign for her first visit to Israel. With the runner-up result in Netanya, Erostarbe who came in ranked 9th in Europe will leave in second position before the women's final event in Caparica.

"I'm super happy with this result today," Erostarbe said. "Last year was a horrible season for me, I kept losing in the early rounds, so to make it this far is really a great achievement for me. I'll definitely be back to try to win and also because I didn't have time to visit everything I wanted too! Excited to head to Portugal soon."

Boukhiam Writes History as First Moroccan Winner in Israel

The men's Final was a very tight match from the get-go, with Gatien Delahaye finding a 7.17 in the opening minutes and Ramzi Boukhiam answering with a 7.50 shortly after. At the midway mark, both surfers started on back-to-back lefts and gave judges something to think about, with an opposition of styles, one being a goofy foot and the other regular. The Moroccan got the nod with a 7.90 against Delahaye's 7.60, moved into first and remained at the top until the final horn, claiming the Netanya title.

"I'm really enjoying this right now," Boukhiam said. "It's been three years without a win and I felt like I was surfing better than ever so it's been hard mentally and to stay motivated. I'm happy to break the spell today. After surfing three months of pumping waves in Morocco there were definitely adjustments to make but I had a lot of fun."

Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), Netanya 2022 Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

The 28 year-old Moroccan from Agadir has been surfing on the Qualifying Series for over a decade now and adds a fifth win to an impressive resume that includes titles in Zarautz, Anglet, Lacanau and Brazil going back 10 years. Coming in ranked 12th on the European QS before this event, Boukhiam jumped up to second place ahead of the final two events counting towards qualification for the Challenger Series.

"It's pretty cool to be the first Moroccan to win here," Boukhiam added. "The bond between our two countries is growing stronger and I was actually on the first-ever direct flight between Casablanca and Tel Aviv to come here so it feels extra special."

Delahaye has been impressive throughout the event, taking out four of his five heats before the Final, and unfortunately came out just short against Boukhiam. The Guadeloupe surfer who has won twice on the QS was chasing a third title but will settle for runner-up. This result bumped him into the qualifying Top 9 for the Challengers.

"I'm totally satisfied with the result today," Delahaye said. "Once I made the Final I just wanted to have fun and enjoy the moment. I felt good and started well, it was a good final and Ramzi was just a little stronger and I'm happy for him."

Gatien Delahaye (FRA), Netanya 2022 Gatien Delahaye (FRA) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

With the completion of the SEAT Pro Netanya, the race to the Challenger Series qualification intensifies, here are the current European QS rankings leaders:

European Men's QS Top 9:

1 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
2 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
3 - Tristan Guilbaud (FRA)
3 - Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
5 - Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA)
5 - Adur Amatriain (EUK)
7 - Timothee Bisso (FRA)
8 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA)
9 - Justin Becret (FRA)

European Women's QS Top 7:

1 - Teresa Bonvalot (PRT)
2 - Nadia Erostarbe (EUK)
2 - Mafalda Lopes (PRT)
2 - Francisca Veselko (PRT)
5 - Rachel Presti (DEU)
5 - Garazi Sanchez-Ortun (EUK)
7 - Pauline Ado (FRA)

The Top 9 men and Top 7 women, + 1 wildcard in each field will qualify for the 2022 Challenger Series. Vahine Fierro (FRA) is the recipient of the women's wildcard, the men's wildcard is yet to be decided.

Surfers will now have just a little over a week to prepare for the next event on the 2021-22 European Qualifying Series, the QS 3000 Estrella Galicia Caparica Surf Fest 2022, from April 5-10, 2022 in Caparica, Portugal..

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