Delahaye got off to a quick start, paddling on his first wave right on the buzzer to start building momentum in the final. His first attempt on a medium sized lefthander with four powerful backside turns for a 7.17 got him an early lead, quickly backed up with an average score.
Henrique tried to answer right away but his opening ride didn't provide the critical sections he hoped for, only able to belt a medium score. Delahaye kept chasing the best waves and increased his lead with another good ride, before Henrique really launch his assault for the win with a combination of two critical turns on his forehand belting a 7.37.
The Portuguese turned the heat on the five-minute mark with a fast wave and a couple of critical foam climbs before his finishing maneuver. Delahaye had a final opportunity in the last minute, but a little bit late to hit the first section, the young Guadeloupean couldn't make his case and Henrique was crowned the first-ever Quiksilver Pro Casablanca Champion, clinching the much-coveted World Surf League European Men's Title in the process.
"It feels amazing I just can't describe it," an emotional Henrique stated. "Winning the European title was a complete surprise and it's amazing, it just gives me more drive for the next events."
Following an excellent third place in Pantin last week, Henrique kept the ball rolling in Morocco and posted excellent scores all week. Before the tight final, Henrique dispatched of his competition with big scores and proved he's a force to be reckoned with at the highest level.
"It just goes to prove that all the work I'm doing is going in the right direction," Henrique continued. "I really want to thank God, my family for supporting and encouraging me always, and my coaches who have been helping me change the way I compete and prepare physically and mentally."
The current European Junior No.3, Delahaye fought his way into the final of a QS event for the first time in his young career, besting several experienced competitors and proving his matured surf can rival anyone's when the waves pump. The talented naturalfooter will look to keep his excellent form next week when he attacks the final Junior event of the season in Lanzarote.
"I clearly wish I had won," Delahaye admitted. "I felt great during the whole event and Pedro surfed excellent and got that wave in the middle of the heat so I couldn't change that. I'm super happy and will now focus on the Junior event in the Canaries. I didn't stress at all this week, my parents were here and kept me focused and relaxed so I'll try to keep this frame of mind for the future events."
With a decreasing swell on offer and less power to work with, Keoni Yan (PYF) 20, couldn't match Delahaye's fast turns and aerial prowess, as he was left chasing a combination of two scores to try to get back in pole position during semifinal No. 1. Yan concludes his European campaign with en encouraging equal-third place in Morocco.
"Gatien started deeper than me and got that first bomb and got an 8," Yan explained. "After that the heat was kind of slow and I didn't find what I was looking for. Hats off to him he surfed really well. I'm super happy to make the semis and grabs some points here to climb up the rankings a little bit. I've had an awesome experience in Morocco, we ate a lot of good food!"
Rookie Lliam Mortensen (AUS) 18, had an exciting matchup with freshly crowned European Champion Henrique, where both surfers pushed each other towards the excellent range of scores. Despite multiple lead changes up until the very last moments of the semifinal, Mortensen couldn't find the final wave he needed and placed equal third.
"It was an exciting heat for me, it's good when both competitors get good waves," Mortensen reflected. "I'm happy to have performed, it's a bummer I couldn't post higher scores but that's how it goes. Coming here and experiencing all that and surfing different waves compared to Australia was really fun, and I'm glad to finally post a good result to finish the trip off."