Nat Young Wins Inaugural QS5,000 Pro Taghazout Bay
Photos: WSL / Masurel
Anchor Point, Taghazout Bay / Morocco (Thursday, January 30, 2020) – Nat Young (USA) has won the first-ever QS5,000 Pro Taghazout Bay in historic fashion today, claiming victory in the Final bout against Alonso Correa (PER) held in pumping surf at the world famous Anchor Point.
Stop No. 1 on the 2020 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Pro Taghazout Bay has been graced with world-class conditions and incredible performances by the some of the world’s best surfers, culminating today with Young’s victory.
Young absolutely dominated finals day from the get go, dropping two 8+ scores to send World No.6 Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) packing in their Quarterfinal matchup.
He continued in the Semis and beat Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) with another excellent couple of waves and came into the Final fired up. The Californian dropped the hammer on his first wave with a near-perfect 9.67 and pretty much ran away with the win right there and then. He did drop another couple of 8+ rides just for good measure and came in an undisputed victor in Morocco, chaired up under euphoric screams from the local crowds.
“I’m super happy to start the year like that,” Young stated. “Honestly just being here in Morocco for the first time and getting to surf waves like that for a contest is all you can ask for. I think in the quarters it was just us two goofy foots and all regulars. I think that wave really suits us on our backhand, and we also both probably surf waves similar to this a lot.”
Alonso Correa (PER) had a slower start on Finals day but managed to edge out Shane Sykes (ZAF) in the Quarters before blowing up in the Semis to defeat former World No. 14 Frederico Morais (PRT) with an incredible last two waves of 9.60 and 8.73.
He gave Young a good run for his money in the Final, answering to his opening ride with a 9.10 of his own. He multiplied tries but eventually couldn’t find the 9.25 required and had to settle for second. Correa’s runner-up and 4,000 points represent his biggest result to date as the Peruvian launches his fifth full qualifying campaign on the QS.
“It was an amazing place to compete and I’m super happy with a Final,” Correa said. “Both Anza and Anchor are awesome waves to compete on and I’m really happy I came. Surfing this type of wave is what we live for, so it’s amazing to have a contest on it.”
The two semifinalists could have easily been in the Final as well, as Portugal’s Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) and Frederico Morais (PRT) have been groomed on the long righthand point breaks of their home country.
Both powerful, regular footers, the pair looked unstoppable until the Semis where they met their executioners. For Ribeiro, the excellent result in Taghazout will come as a confidence boost before he launches another qualifying effort.
“It’s been a couple of years since I heard this was going to happen and I’m so thankful to the WSL for putting this event on,” Ribeiro said. “It’s by far one of the best comps of the year and I’m happy to start by making a few heats. We have similar waves in Portugal and I’m super comfortable in those conditions.”
Morais on the other hand, did the job with a huge back-end of the year in 2019 and is set to re-join the elite Top 34 when the tour starts on the Gold Coast in March.
”I would have loved to make the Final of course but I’m happy with my performance, and I’m stoked with my two weeks here in Morocco,” Morais said. “I’ve really enjoyed myself here and I can’t wait to start the CT year in Australia now.”
The inaugural QS5,000 Pro Taghazout Bay unfolded in six, exciting days of competition, first on the backup venue of Anza and the last couple of days at the primary spot of Anchor Point.
The event was met with exceptional support from the locals as crowds gathered to watch some of the best surfers in the world take it to their lineups. Waves came to the party as well with near-perfect conditions both at Anza and Anchor Point, which allowed the level of performance to go through the roof.
With the completion of the Pro Taghazout Bay, the European title race is officially underway in 2020, here is the current Top 5: