Gatien Delahaye (FRA) and Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) have won the Rip Curl Pro Anglet today, claiming victory in the Finals against Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Ariane Ochoa (EUK) held in two-to-three foot surf at Chambre d'Amour.
Stop No.4 of 10 on the European Qualifying Series (QS), the QS3,000 Rip Curl Pro Anglet has been blessed with good conditions all-week and witnessed impressive performances from Europe's best surfers, culminating with the crowning of the 2022 event winners today.
The final day of competition resumed early this morning in smaller conditions but rippable rights on the south end of the famed, colorful Chambre d'Amour breakwall, running the Semis and Finals of both the men and women's events.
Men's Final: Delahaye and Boukhiam Meet Again
The men's Final was the second time Gatien Delahaye and Ramzi Boukhiam) met in a QS Final this season after their battle in Israel earlier this year. This time though, it was the Frenchman who came out on top with a dominant effort in the smallish Basque swell.
"I've thought about getting one back over him a lot," Delahaye stated. "I'm really stoked to have had the opportunity and to have won that heat. It's a bit surreal at the moment, I'm over the moon with all the work that I've put in and it's finally starting to pay."
Delahaye went straight to his strong suit with an air on the very first wave of the Final as Boukhiam was more conventional with a backhand attack in the small rights of Anglet. The two exchanged rides and the lead changed hands multiple times during the Final, but eventually it was another aerial rotation from Delahaye that sealed the deal for the Guadeloupe surfer.
A competitor on the European QS for almost a decade now, Delahaye is putting his best season together so far this year, with multiple huge results that include two runner-up finishes, two equal thirds and today's win on the QS, as well as a massive runner-up on the CS in Ballito, South Africa just a few weeks ago. The 25 year-old emerged as one of the most promising surfers from France at the moment with a real shot at making the Championship Tour in 2023.
"My focus shifts to Portugal and the next Challenger Series event in Ericeira," Delahaye continued. "I'm going to go there soon and try to prepare myself as best I can to do well."
Morocco's Ramzi Boukhiam has an equally impressive season to his name with big results on the regional QS as well as the Challenger Series where he currently sits in 6th position, well within the CT qualifying zone with three events remaining.
"I really don't like to finish second in a Final but to be honest it was really complicated out there," Boukhiam admitted. "I don't have that ease in the air and so I tried to show what I could do on the face of the wave and it came down to very little. I'm still super happy with my performance this week, I'm happy for Gatien too, he's improved a lot over the past couple of years and he definitely deserves to win. Anglet is my second home so I would have loved to win here again but I'll be back to try again!"
Women's Final: Hopkins Keeps Pushing
In the women's Final, Ariane Ochoa took on form surfer and recent winner Yolanda Hopkins in an opposition of style and stance. The Basque surfer from Bilbao has been relatively unsuccessful this season while her opponent from Portugal is one of the most consistent surfers in the region this year.
In the Final, Hopkins kept applying her strategy of keeping busy and surfing as many waves as she can, hoping to find herself on a gem in a tricky lineup. The plan worked wonders as the Portuguese surfer found the best score of the entire heat on her second wave to take the early lead and apply pressure on Ochoa.
In a decreasing swell, the Basque surfer struggled to find verticality on her backhand as she did in previous rounds and couldn't quite post any scores of consequence, eventually handing Hopkins the win on a silver platter.
"I finally broke my French leg curse," Hopkins said. "I've never actually managed to do well in Lacanau and Anglet before so it feels incredible to take a 5th in Lacanau and win today. I always love coming here anyway and that'll just add better memories to go with it."
Hopkins' form in 2022 has been extremely impressive on the European QS as she collected excellent results in all the events she entered. She won the Animal Pro in England just two weeks ago for the second time and now upgraded to win her first QS3,000 in Anglet. With the added confidence earned here, the powerful regular foot could be a real danger when the CS heads to her home country in October.
"I'm just going to try to keep at it with the same frame of mind," Hopkins added. "There were a few bumps on the road at the beginning of the year but I feel like I'm back to my best and super excited about the rest of the year."
A two-time winner on the QS, Ariane Ochoa has been somewhat inconsistent in her previous appearances but she seemed to have found a good rhythm and recipe for success in Anglet this past week.
"I'm super happy to have made the Final today," Ochoa said. "It's been a tough year and this is definitely a big positive. In this event I competed the way that I love to compete, I felt confident again and it's a good sign for what's to come, I'm really enjoying this moment."
With the completion of the Rip Curl Pro Anglet, the race to the European QS title continues, here are the current rankings:
European Men's QS Top 5:
1 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA)
2 - Tiago Carrique (FRA)
3 - Joan Duru (FRA)
4 - Marco Mignot (FRA)
5 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
European Women's QS Top 5:
1 - Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)
2 - Ariane Ochoa (EUK)
3 - Francisca Veselko (PRT)
4 - Camilla Kemp (DEU)
5 - Carolina Mendes (PRT)
Surfers will now have a long break before the next event on the 2022-23 European Qualifying Series, the Azores Pro from October 18-23, 2022. Surfers on the Challenger Series (CS) will be back competing earlier, at the upcoming EDP Vissla Pro Ericeira in Portugal from October 1-9, 2022.
The Rip Curl Pro Anglet was scheduled from August 23-28, 2022 at la Chambre d'Amour, Anglet, Nouvelle-Aquitaine / France. For the LIVE webcast, all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The Rip Curl Pro Anglet is supported by Rip Curl, Anglet, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Caraïbos, Tourtel Twist, Virgin Radio, Venon Surfboards and Torq.
RIP CURL PRO ANGLET MEN'S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 14.06
2 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 12.64
RIP CURL PRO ANGLET WOMEN'S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) 11.17
2 - Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 9.24
RIP CURL PRO ANGLET MEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Timothee Bisso (FRA) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
SF 2: Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Gatien Delahaye (FRA)
RIP CURL PRO ANGLET WOMEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 11.00 def. Anat Lelior (ISR) 7:03
SF 2: Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) 10.96 def. Tessa Thyssen (FRA) 8.33