Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) and Zahli Kelly (AUS) have won the QS1,500 Caraïbos Lacanau Pro today, claiming victory in the Final bouts against Kalani Ball (AUS) and Cannelle Bulard (REU) held in good three foot surf at the grande plage of Lacanau.
Stop No. 8 of 12 on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Caraïbos Lacanau Pro saw good waves all-week.
The men’s final started quickly with Kalani Ball (AUS) opting to go above the lip on his first wave, a quick forehand rotation followed by a couple of snaps for a 6.83 and the early lead. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) stuck to his previous game plan and waited for the longer rights to apply his surgical backhand attack, posting an incredible 9 point ride for 6 radical turns, and the pole position.
The Australian continued to look for air sections and found two more waves in the similar score range but was never able to really break into the excellent 8+ rides. The Moroccan on the other hand, looked for similar clean walls to work with, and pushed the requirement slightly higher on his next two attempts. Time ran out eventually and Boukhiam claimed his first win of the season in front of the enthusiast Lacanau crowds.
“I’d love to get these results at QS10,000 but I’ll take it!” Boukhiam said. “I haven’t come here for a few years and it’s great to be back in Lacanau and see everyone. I’m super happy to win today, I was in a good mood, I have great boards and I was impatient to come and test it all out this week.”
Boukhiam comes off a good result at the VANS US Open of Surfing and looked sharp all week, but really stepped up his game on finals day to post the biggest scores of the event, including two 9+ rides in the semis and the Final. With this result in France, the Moroccan cracks the European Top 5 and will be a favorite in the next event in Anglet, which he won last season.
“I just had a great rhythm in those last two heats,” he added. “I got an average wave that put me in position for the perfect one and from then I just had a good flow. I knew Kalani could have gotten the score easy so I kept trying to improve and thankfully it was enough. I’m super tired now but I‘m going to rest for a bit and I really look forward to going at it again in Anglet this week.”
In the women’s final, Zahli Kelly (AUS) and Cannelle Bulard (REU) fought it out at high tide as long rights peeled through the lineup, North of the judges tower. The Australian started early with two average scores to find a rhythm and quickly graduated to posting a 7.33 to strengthen her lead. It took almost half the heat for Bulard to find a wave with potential, but she did and laid her backhand attack on a slightly fatter wave for a 6 point ride.
The ocean quieted down for the next ten minutes and the final result came down to a couple of final efforts from Bulard. The Reunion Island surfer tried to distance herself from Kelly but in doing so stayed on a peak with slightly less potential. Her final three waves all came up just short of the 6.00 required and Kelly walked away with the win.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed right now, I can’t really believe that’s happened!” Kelly reflected. “I’ve won a couple of junior events but a QS is definitely a lot harder and I didn’t expect that. Waves were so much fun this week, I loved my first time here in Lacanau.”
The 14 year-old phenom from Brisbane gets her first Qualifying Series event win after dominating the junior season down under. She defeated two of the strongest surfers in the earlier rounds, Lucia Indurain (ARG) in the semis and Dominic Barona (ECU) in the quarters.
European Men’s QS Top 5:
1 - Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
2 - Andy Criere (ESP)
3 - Gony Zubizarreta (ESP)
4 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
5 - Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)
European Women’s QS Top 5:
1 - Pauline Ado (FRA)
2 - Cannelle Bulard (REU)
3 - Camilla Kemp (PRT)
4 - Justine Dupont (FRA)
5 - Juliette Lacome (FRA)
Surfers will now travel down the coast for the upcoming Pro Anglet pres. by Oakley starting tomorrow August 21-26.
All pics from Masurel/WSL