- WSL / Pedro Mestre
Highlights: Lucas Silveira Reigns Supreme in Santa Cruz
Brazil's Lucas Silveira comes out on top of a stacked finals day in Santa Cruz.

Lucas Silveira has won the Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. by Noah Surf House today, claiming victory in the Final bout against Gatien Delahaye held in windy three-to-five foot surf at praia do norte in Santa Cruz.

The last Stop on the 2021-22 men's European QS, the Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. by Noah Surf House was instrumental in determining the Top 9 surfers who made the official list of qualifiers for the 2022 Challenger Series.

"I'm feeling so good right now," Silveira said. "The Final was kind of weird, I think we both expected the other guy to get huge scores but the tide was super high and there weren't that many good opportunities. It was a great battle all the way until the end."

Silveira, a 26 year-old Brazilian surfer from Rio de Janeiro who resides part-time in Portugal, continues to build on his already highly successful career, claiming a second QS win today in Portugal. He is also a former World Junior Champion, a title which he won in Portugal as well. The powerful regular foot had never advanced past the Quarterfinals in Santa Cruz before today.

"This means all the hard work is starting to pay off and it definitely gives me a lot of confidence heading to Australia soon," he added. "Shootout to Gatien too, he's been ripping and we've had some good battles."

Lucas Silveira (BRA), Santa Cruz 2022 Lucas Silveira (BRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Although not technically qualifying through the European Qualifying Series, Silveira is a lock as a CT-replacement wildcard in the opening two events of the Challenger Series in Australia.

In the Final, Silveira kept to his routine and posted a 6.00 point ride right away to build house with a mid-5 backup. The Brazilian has been extremely consistent, scoring 6 points or higher on his first wave for the 9th time in a heat over the last couple of weeks in Portugal. Delahaye was off to a slower start as his wave selection didn't allow him to showcase much of his aerial or power surfing capabilities on the first few tries.

The Frenchman did answer midway through the Final, posting a 6.73 for a two-turn combo on his backhand to put him right back in the fight. With only 3 minutes on the clock, Delahaye turned the heat with a single, late attack of the lip on a right for a 6.10 pushing Silveira against the ropes, but sitting in the lineup with priority.

The last couple of minutes were as tense as they get, with both surfers getting a wave, having to come in on the buzzer not knowing the final result. When the announcer finally spoke the last scores out loud, it was Silveira's final effort that won him the Santa Cruz Final.

Guadeloupe's Delahaye has been on a tear this QS season in Europe, racking up two runner-up results in Israel and Santa Cruz as well as an equal 3rd place finish in Caparica last week. The 2-time winner on the QS will have to wait though for victory number three as he came up just short today in Portugal.

Wave of the Day 4 - Santa Cruz
Gatien Delahaye grabs the last Estrella Galicia Wave of the Day in Santa Cruz.

"I'm feeling great," he said. "This weekend in Santa Cruz was amazing again, Caparica and Israel were amazing too. I'm super happy and I want to thank everyone who came to support us at the events."

In the opening Semifinal, Silveira took on Kauli Vaast, who needed a win in Santa Cruz to crack the rankings' Top 9, synonymous with a Challenger Series seat for this season. Vaast had built momentum through the earlier rounds up to an incredible 17.10 total in the Quarters but might have peaked too soon as he fell short in the Semis against the Brazilian.

With a disappointing first round exit in Azores and two average results in Israel and Caparica, Vaast came up a bit short and ended his season ranked 15th in the region.

"I'm sad because it was close and I made a mistake when he got a good wave under my priority," he explained. "It's tough to lose that close to the final, especially when the qualification is in the balance but that's how competition goes. I made a lot of errors this season, so I'll go back to work and try to come back stronger and smarter next season."

In a remake of the SEAT Pro Netanya Final just a few weeks ago, Delahaye took on Ramzi Boukhiam in the second Semifinal but this time the Caribbean surfer put his opponent in a combination situation quickly, posting a 9.33 on his first wave with a big aerial maneuver. Boukhiam tried to fight back but never got close to scoring enough for the win.

With a win in Israel, a Quarterfinal finish in Caparica and a Semifinal today, Boukhiam has put a solid season together and will be a force to reckon with in the CS later this year.

"I'm satisfied with my effort this season," he said. "We have had pretty terrible conditions in most events and I did relatively well considering. I would have liked to show more of what I can do but the main goal of making the Challengers is done."

Justin Becret (FRA), Santa Cruz 2022 Justin Becret (FRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Timothee Bisso and Justin Becret managed to claim just enough points in Santa Cruz to squeeze into the qualifying spots for the CS, edging out their compatriot Thomas Debierre at the last moment. They will join an A-list of competitors representing Europe when Snapper comes around in May, the full list of qualifiers can be found below.

With the completion of the Estrella Galicia Santa Cruz Pro pres. by Noah Surf House, the European rankings are now final:

European Men's QS Top 10 (9 CS Qualifiers):

1 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
2 - Lucas Silveira (BRA) Does not qualify for CS through Europe
3 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA)
4 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
5 - Adur Amatriain (EUK)
6 - Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
7 - Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA)
8 - Tristan Guilbaud (FRA)
9 - Timothee Bisso (FRA)
10 - Justin Becret (FRA)

Surfers will now have three weeks to prepare for the first event on the 2022 Challenger Series, the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro from May 7-15, 2022. Regional surfers will have a little more free time as the first event on the 2022/23 European QS will be in July in Galicia.

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