- WSL / Pedro Mestre
Highlights: Mignot Reigns Supreme in Santa Cruz
Mignot comes out on top in a stacked final day at the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House.

PRAIA DO NORTE, Santa Cruz - Portugal (Saturday, September 9, 2023) - Today, Marco Mignot (FRA) won the QS 3,000 Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House in clean two-to-three foot waves with light winds, defeating Gatien Delahaye (FRA) in the event Final.

Stop No. 5 on the 2023-24 World Surf League (WSL) men's European Qualifying Series (QS), this event wrapped an intense, five back-to-back events leg that sent surfers across England, France, Spain and now Portugal.

Marco Mignot (FRA), Santa Cruz 2023 Marco Mignot (FRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Mignot Flairs to Career-Third Victory on the QS

In an all-French Final, Marco Mignot took on Gatien Delahaye and despite a slow start and showing signs of frustration early on, it was the 22 year-old who resides in Sayulita, Mexico that eventually came home with the win.

Slow to find his groove in the last heat, Mignot did get a first taste of a proper shoulder to work with halfway through the heat and from there nothing could stop the high-flying regular foot who pocketed his third QS win, and the second in Portugal after Caparica earlier this year.

"I'm so blessed," an emotional Mignot said. "The last two events I lost in the RD16 so coming here I thought whatever happens is going to happen and I'm just going to go with the flow. I've always had a shocker here in Santa Cruz so taking the win here is really special. This was just a warm up and the bigger event is coming at Ribeira d'Ilhas so I'm going to get prepared for this."

This result pushed him up into fourth on the regional rankings after two disappointing results in Anglet and Pantin. Of course Mignot has his eyes set on the bigger picture as he's currently 18th on the Challenger Series (CS) with two events to go.

Gatien Delahaye (FRA), Santa Cruz 2023 Gatien Delahaye (FRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Delahaye Finds Winning Form Again, Claims Best Result Post Injury

The Guadeloupe surfer, Gatien Delahaye sustained an injury earlier this year as he was training for a wildcard appearance in the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and is now showing signs of peak fitness and form as he placed equal third in Anglet and runner-up today in Santa Cruz.

"Making a Final is a dream for everyone so I can't complain," Delahaye admitted. "Marco surfed really well and it was a great Final so I'm satisfied. It's my first podium since my injury so all the work is paying off and I'm excited for what's to come."

A standout in the CS last year, Delahaye will now shift his focus to the remaining last events of the year and build up confidence and momentum into the next season.

Tiago Carrique (FRA), Santa Cruz 2023 Tiago Carrique (FRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Carrique and Couzinet Grab Equal-Third Finishes, Carrique Retains Rankings Lead

Delahaye and Mignot had previously eliminated Tiago Carrique and Jorgann Couzinet in the semifinals. Both surfers fell victims to last-second heroics from their opponents.

Carrique, the current European rankings leader, was arguably one of the standouts of the entire event and seemed to have his Semifinal battle on lock with seconds on the clock when Delahaye pulled a rabbit out of the hat and eliminated the surfer from Biarritz in equal third.

"I'm really happy with the start of this season," Carrique stated. "Of course I would have loved to make another Final but you can't make them all. Surfing from the first round all the way to the semis is something to be happy about. Of course the regional title is always in a corner of your mind, but my focus is on the Challengers. I want to qualify and then do well, so now that the pressure of qualifying is off I can focus on performing there."

Carrique still adds another big result to his impressive qualifying effort so far and gets this much closer to locking a spot for the 2024 CS, as well as a potential first regional title with his new-found consistency.

Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Santa Cruz 2023 Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) - WSL / Pedro Mestre

Couzinet took on Mignot in the most entertaining heat of the day in the second Semi Final. Both surfers went on a tear and exchanged big score after big score with a full display of airs and carves. Couzinet turned the heat with five minutes on the clock but under pressure, Mignot turned the winning score on his last wave and pushed out the Reunion Island surfer in equal third.

The former European title winner has been building up steam in the summer leg and might just peak at the right time as the final stretch of the CS arrives in Portugal in a couple of weeks time.

With the Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House, stop No.5 on the 2023/24 European QS in the books, here's an updated regional rankings Top 5:

Men's European QS Top 5:

1 - Tiago Carrique (FRA)
2 - Charly Quivront (FRA)
3 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
4 - Marco Mignot (FRA)
5 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA)

The Qualifying Series will take a breather in Europe as Santa Cruz wraps the intense summer leg, and only reconvene in early 2024 for two more events and the conclusion of the qualifying effort from Europe's best.

In the meantime, the Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) will take over with the E.Leclerc Pont-l'Abbé Junior Pro La Torche next week in France, and the Razo Junior Pro in Galicia, Spain the following week.

Finally, the Challenger Series (CS) EDP Vissla Pro Ericeira will be the last event on European soil this year, from October 1-8 in Portugal.

Watch All the Action LIVE from Portugal
The Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House was broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the free WSL app, and the WSL's YouTube channel. You can replay any of the action on YouTube.

The Pro Santa Cruz pres. by Noah Surf House was scheduled from September 6-10, 2023 at Praia do Norte, Santa Cruz / Torres Vedras - Portugal. It is brought to you by WSL, sponsored by Visit Portugal, Torres Vedras Municipality. Noah Surf House, Turismo do Centro, Millennium BCP, Meo and Hertz.

1 - Marco Mignot (FRA) 15.10
2 - Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 10.84

SF 1: Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 9.56 def. Tiago Carrique (FRA) 9.17
SF 2: Marco Mignot (FRA) 14.77 def. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 14.27

QF 1: Tiago Carrique (FRA) 15.33 def. Kepa Housset-Ezponda (FRA) 9.37
QF 2: Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 11.06 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.00
QF 3: Marco Mignot (FRA) 13.03 def. Charly Quivront (FRA) 8.16
QF 4: Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 12.30 def. Frederico Morais (POR) 11.60

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