The Anfaplace Pro Casablanca culminated today with the crowning of our event champions in quality surf this afternoon and in front of large crowds enjoying a picture-perfect Sunday at the beach in Casablanca.
There was no shortage of action on finals day with the men's event re-starting in the Quarterfinals and the women's already in their Semis this morning. The glassy lineup of three-to-four foot lefts and rights painted a perfect canvas for the surfers to showcase their high-performance surfing to fight for the event titles.
Winners Step Up on Finals Day
Both Mikaela Greene and Deivid Silva had already been standout surfers all week, but where the rest of the finalists struggled to put on the next gear, Deivid and Mikaela took their act to the next level on finals day.
The Australian dominated the women's Final from start to finish. It was her second time this summer fighting for the event title after the Boardmasters, Roxy Open but this time she left nothing to chance. She started with a couple of average scores before finding her feet and posting a 7 and a 6 to combo her opponent.
But that wasn't enough, every time you thought Josefina Ane had a shot at coming back in the fight, Mikaela just found a better wave and kept improving her scoreline. She eventually sealed the deal with an impressive 16.16, her highest of the whole event.
"I was stoked with the waves we got here, it was super fun and I'm stoked to take the win!," she said. "I really just wanted to be on the best waves and do the best turns I could on those waves, so I feel like I succeeded in that. I've been working a lot with my coach and it feels like it's finally falling into place now."
Deivid had a similar perfect finals day. Everything clicked for him today and he posted his three highest combined totals, the lowest being a solid 15.87, with a score over 9 points in each of his heats. His surfing on the clean, punchy lefts in the Final was hands down the best we've seen all week and logically he claimed back-to-back wins in Casablanca.
"It feels amazing to win again here in Morocco, I love this place so much," he said. "The waves in the Final were so fun, very much like last year and I just had a blast. I've had a pretty terrible year so far so it's great to finally get a win, especially in really fun conditions. This is a great confidence boost heading into Cascais, so I look forward to putting on the jersey again. I didn't manage to land good airs this week, but I guess I'll just keep them in store for Portugal."
Runner-Ups Peak Too Early
It was Josefina's first QS final and you could tell the pressure of it all was playing with the young Argentinian surfer. Where she previously put together smart heats, she seemed to be paddling all over the place in the final, unfortunately not finding the long walls to display her stylish surfing. And when your opponent is having a great time, building a massive scoreboard and you're in a combo situation, it's easy to freak out and miss the right opportunities. Nevertheless, this first experience will for sure help her grow her competitive self and she'll be one to look out for in the next seasons.
"I'm really happy to make a Final," Ane said. "I couldn't really catch a good wave, I definitely was nervous out there but it's still a great result for me. This whole week was incredible with a lot of emotions. I didn't plan to go that far in this event, I even had to push my flight back cause I originally left during the Final. I look forward to going home now and celebrate with my family and friends."
Rafael wasn't the surfer you expected to see in the Finals against Deivid, but he won his Semifinal solidly against the form surfer all week Noe Mar McGonagle for his spot. Unfortunately, when he came up against a fired up Deivid Silva, Rafael lacked the extra energy, or motivation, and despite surfing well, was never in reach of the win.
"I'm stoked to make the final against Deivid, we've been staying together all week and it's awesome to finish like that," he said. "I lost in the Semis three times this season, so just making the Final was already a step up for me. I think I just had the wrong rhythm, I started on the first wave of the set and Deivid got his 7 on the wave behind. Later the same thing happened on the second wave of the set, and he got the 9 on the third, it was just not my Final to win."
Before the two Finals ran, surfers took part in an expression session in solidarity with the victims of the recent hurricane devastating the Caribbean Islands. Athletes decided among themselves to collectively refuse the US$5,000 prize money purse and instead offer it to an NGO helping communities in the Caribbean territories. St. Barthelemy surfers Tessa Thyssen and Nina Reynal were in the forefront of the action, leading the group into an hourlong show for the local surf fans.
"It was really hard for us to watch all this unfold from the distance, we just felt completely useless for them," Tessa stated. "The whole island was destroyed and it's a part of our youth that's just gone. In the worst of times though, the communities there stuck together and the solidarity everyone showed was really special, it made us even prouder."
The Anfaplace Pro Casablanca being the final event counting towards the European men and women's titles race, the rankings are now final, with Top 5 as follow:
Men's European Top 5:
Women's European Top 5:
The final stop on the European Qualifying Series will unfold from September 26 - October 5, 2017 at the EDP Billabong Pro Cascais 2017, running in conjunction with Stop No. 8 on the Women's Championship Tour, the Cascais Women's Pro.
Check out all the photos, videos and updates from Casablanca right here.