- WSL / Laurent Masurel

The second edition of the QS 3,000 Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay is approaching fast as the competition window opens on February 18 and runs through February 26, 2023. This regional Qualifying Series (QS) event, part of the African and European tours, will be the first event of 2023 in both regions.

The fields are stacked in both the men and women divisions with almost 200 competitors registered to compete in Morocco. A healthy mix of seasoned competitors, hungry up-and-comers and local talent will take on the powerful rights of Anchor Point in what promises exciting action early in the year.

Headlining the European contingent will be current QS rankings leader Gatien Delahaye and former Championship Tour (CT) surfers Joan Duru and Frederico Morais alongside rising stars Tiago Carrique, Marco Mignot and Luis Diaz. The best five surfers in the region at this point will have to contend with another 100 or so competitors, all vying for precious ranking points on offer to secure a spot into this year's Challenger Series (CS).

2023 Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay Teaser
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The QS3,000 Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay is back from February 18-26, 2023!

Making their first appearance in Taghazout, Europe's best female surfers will all be there as well, including freshly crowned women's World Junior Champion Francisca Veselko. The 18 year-old Portuguese surfer now has the difficult task to confirm her incredible form on the QS and ultimately the CS where she has earned a full time slot for the coming season. Joining her in Morocco will be former Olympian Yolanda Hopkins, Ariane Ochoa, Camilla Kemp and Carolina Mendes to wrap up the regional Top 5, as well as another 40+ surfers.

Adin Masencamp and Zoƫ Steyn, the current WSL Africa regional ranking forerunners will lead a 20-strong crew into the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay as they eye the backhand of their QS season and qualification for the upcoming Challenger Series.

Fans in Morocco will also be able to cheer on their own as surfers from the host country will try to showcase the local talent pool. In the absence of Ramzi Boukhiam, who is likely going to be competing on the CT in Hawaii, the likes of Othmane Choufani, Teva Bouchgua and Ranya Squalli among others will pick up the torch and represent the local community at Anchor Point.

Wildcards Announced to Challenge Seasoned Competitors

Lilias Tebbai (MAR), La Torche 2022 Lilias Tebbai (MAR) - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Four more athletes will join the field to challenge the best from Europe and Africa, receiving wildcards into the event.

"We're really happy to offer this opportunity to Abdel El Harim," Yann Martin, Rip Curl Europe team manager stated. "Abdou has been an integral part of our team since he was 14 and a great ambassador throughout his career. Today he's a mentor for a younger generation and he trains the future of Moroccan surfing in his surf camp in Rabat. His powerful, backhand surfing is likely to score big on the long rights of Anchor Point. We're also proud to give a wildcard to our newest team member Alys Barton. At only 18 she has a bright future ahead and we're hoping this opportunity will boost her confidence and help turn in big results."

The Royal Moroccan Surfing Federation has also awarded wildcards to its current national champions Aboubakar Bouaouda and Lilias Tebbai as they lead the home contingent in Taghazout.

Rip Curl Invites New Generation with GromSearch European Final

GromSearch GromSearch - Rip Curl

On the eve of the Rip Curl Pro Search Taghazout Bay, the European Final of the Rip Curl GromSearch will take place in Taghazout. 42 surfers from all over Europe competing 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, 3x World Champion Gabriel Medina and many more.

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