The World Surf League, Taghazout Bay and Rip Curl are excited to announce the return of the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay from February 18-26, 2023 as part of the African and European regional Qualifying Series (QS).
The inaugural event ran in 2020 and was graced by amazing conditions. Some of the world's best surfers put on an incredible show in epic waves and most will undoubtedly try to come back for the 2023 edition.
The global pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2021 and 2022 installments but the WSL, Taghazout Bay and Rip Curl have kept working hand in hand to bring back this event as soon as it became possible to host a high-profile, high-quality professional surfing event both for the athletes and fans in Morocco.
"After an epic 2020 edition we're stoked to be headed back to Taghazout," Cheyne Bradburn, Events & Marketing Manager at WSL Europe said. "We really wanted to have Morocco back on the QS and are happy about adding a women's division as well. We are thankful for the continued support of Taghazout Bay, the Region Souss Massa and Rip Curl as well as their patience during those difficult two years without the event. We are also happy to be welcoming new major partners on board, specifically CIH Bank who are going to be invested starting in 2023 in all the Moroccan WSL events."
In 2023, the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay will be a QS3,000 and add a women's division for the first time.
"After last year's cancellation due to the covid situation, Rip Curl is very excited to see the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay QS event back on the calendar for 2023," Jean-Sebastien Estienne, Rip Curl Europe Marketing Manager stated. "We can't wait to bring the best Men & Women surfers from Europe and Africa back on the search but also the best European surfers under 16 for the European Rip Curl GromSearch finals. Being the naming sponsor of this event is in line with our strategy to support professional surfing all the way from the grass root level with the GromSearch series to the top of the world with the Rip Curl WSL finals."
The event's waiting period in February is absolutely ideal for swell and winds and could hopefully see the whole event unfold in classic Anchor Point conditions. Part of the African and European QS, perfect waves are not the only appeal for surfers heading to Morocco this winter.
"Taghazout Bay will welcome the second edition of the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay, a prestigious stop on the 2022-23 WSL Qualifying Series," Mohammed CherkaouiI Eddeqaqi, CEO of Taghazout Bay stated. "This event is a great opportunity to shed light on the surfing spots of the Agadir Souss Massa region. This edition boasts an exciting new format with the inclusion of the women's division as well as the Rip Curl GromSearch. Visitors will enjoy numerous activities both at Taghazout Bay and Anchor Point during the event."
The pressure is real and in the balance hangs a potential qualification for the 2023 Challenger Series (CS). The 2022/23 Regional QS has taken surfers all over Europe since the start of the season and eyes a finish with two events in Portugal after Taghazout in the spring of 2023.
"I'm super happy that the event comes back to Taghazout after two years without it," Ramzi Boukhiam, 2023 Championship Tour (CT) surfer stated. "The first one was such a success, everyone really enjoyed the Moroccan hospitality, the place and the quality of our waves. It's extremely important for the development of surfing in our country to be hosting big international events like this. I'm also glad that the women have been added, we need more Moroccan women to get into competitions and I hope this will inspire a lot of surfers to get involved."
With multiple excellent results in 2022, Boukhiam became the first-ever Moroccan to qualify for the Championship Tour last week in Hawaii. After 10 years scouring the globe on the QS, he will join the elite level and the world's best 32 surfers in Hawaii again in January for his first CT event at the iconic Pipeline.
Leading the charge for Moroccan women on tour at the moment is Lilias Tebbai, a 19 year-old from Casablanca. After surfing in the Casablanca QS in 2017 and 2018, then in the Junior QS held this year in her hometown, Tebbai will have an opportunity to compete again in Morocco at an iconic location where her backhand surfing could rival some of the region's best.
"I'm super happy to learn that we're going to host another event at home in Morocco and especially a QS3,000," Tebbai said. "I really looked forward to it since the first one a couple of years ago when it was only a men's event. I look forward to competing on one of my favorite waves, a long wall with a lot of potential."
Prior to the main show, Taghazout will also host the European Final of the Rip Curl GromSearch, 48 surfers from all over the Old Continent will battle in Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12 categories, both boys and girls for the titles. The Rip Curl GromSearch is a real hotbed of young talent, having uncovered future World Champions such as 8x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 3x World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and many more.
The 2023 Rip Curl Pro Pro Search Taghazout Bay is scheduled from February 18-26, 2023, at Anchor Point, Taghazout Bay / Morocco. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.
The Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay is supported by Rip Curl, Taghazout Bay, the Region Souss-Massa and CIH Bank among others.