Kanoa Igarashi: he tends to do well in Portugal | Photo: Poullenot/WSL

Kanoa Igarashi has taken out the Pro Santa Cruz 2018 in historic fashion, claiming victory in the final against Aritz Aranburu, in three-to-five foot surf at Praia da Física, in Santa Cruz.

Stop number six on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Pro Santa Cruz 2018 has been treated to mixed conditions from clean and small to big and unruly, culminating today with Igarashi's victory.

"You could see the weather change, and I really wanted to get a wave before the storm came," Igarashi said.

"I'm stoked I got those two and to take the win. I love being here in Portugal, it's one of my favorite places and to share these moments with all my friends is great."

Igarashi had a near-perfect path to the final and rebounded after a close encounter in Round 6 to post the highest numbers of the quarters, semis and final.

The current world number 24, who had a rather slow start on the Championship Tour so far, can count on his result this week to boost his morale heading into the rest of the season.

"I'm super excited to go back to California now for the Founders Cup," Igarashi continued.

"I'm representing Japan in Team World, so it'll be a really interesting contest and hopefully with this win, I get a little bit of momentum too."

The final was a busy affair in which both surfers got active early and started surfing a good right-hander lining up in front of the event's structure.

Igarashi got the best of the first exchange with 7.83 that he quickly backed up with a 6.00 point ride. But despite repeated efforts from Aranburu, the gap was too big to fill.

Aritz Aranburu posted some of the event's biggest scores and combined heat totals on his way to the final, but fell short of keeping his rhythm going for another heat.

A former CT competitor as well, the Spaniard remains a constant threat on the Qualifying Series and could very well lead a re-qualification campaign to fruition if he continues to perform at this level.

"Waves were degrading because of the high tide, and the rip bowl was still very strong," Aranburu analyzed.

"My wave selection was pretty bad but from what I hear Kanoa had pretty much the only good wave that came, and he was surfing really well. I'm really happy with a second place. Still, I wish we could have surfed on the left at lower tide I was having a lot of fun on my backhand."

Surfers will now move on to other regions in the world to compete for the precious qualifying points. The Qualifying Series will come back for the traditional European summer leg, starting with Boardmasters in August.

Pro Santa Cruz 2018 | Final

1. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.83
2. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 7.40