SUPERTUBOS, Peniche/Portugal (Thursday, October 18, 2012) - The Rip Curl Pro Portugal completed a mammoth day of competition today, determining seven of eight Quarterfinalists in improving three-to-five (1 - 1.5 metre) surf at Supertubos and setting up a possible finish for tomorrow.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal bore witness to high scores and drama in today's ever-improving conditions, including major shakeups in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 2, suffered a shock elimination in Round 3 at the hands of Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, significantly hindering his run for the 2012 ASP World Title. Holding three event wins this season (Fiji, Trestles, France), Slater was in a commanding position with the best eight of 10 adjusted ratings heading into Portugal. However, today's exit along with another Equal 13th from Tahiti this year and an absence in Brazil (Equal 25th place) will force him to carry a poor result in his year-end scoreline.
"That was a key heat," Slater said. "It's that round you really want to get through because there are so many more points on offer for the next round. When you start throwing stuff away, the problem is that I'm going to be carrying a 13th now. It's just the way it is, and maybe it will make for a better finish to the year. It could become exciting. I'm kind of sneakily up there at the top with the wins, but I was carrying a couple bad results already and now I'm definitely going to be carrying one of those three by the end of the year. It's a little frustrating, but it might make it more interesting in the long run. Joel (Parkinson), Mick (Fanning) and John John (Florence) are really good in these conditions. John John is super sneaky in these kind of waves, and I expect Mick to find his waves also."
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current ASP WCT No. 1, drew first blood in Round 4 this afternoon, posting a win over compatriots Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, and Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, to advance directly into the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
"You expect those three-man heats to just be full of fireworks but when you're faced with the occasional scrappy heat you've just got to deal with it," Parkinson said. "I expected some more barrels out there but there weren't many. There were a couple of turns, but this board definitely performs better in the barrels. Stoked to make it through either way."
Parkinson's Quarterfinal berth today solidifies his current lead on the ASP WCT rankings, but the stylish Australian remains cautious when discussing the remainder of the year.
"Even though he (Slater) is in second on the ratings and he's out of the event, we have a little bit of work to do in front of us," Parkinson said. "It definitely tightens up the race a little. I guess doing that might bring it down to Pipe. I think it's time for me to win another event though. It's been far too long. Hopefully I've been keeping it for the right time."
Parkinson has drawn lethal rookie John John Florence (HAW), 20, in the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Owen Wright (AUS), 22, current ASP WCT No. 7, caused the second major upset of the day, eliminating two-time ASP World Champion (2007, 2009) and current ASP WCT No. 3, Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, in Round 5 of competition. Despite Fanning jumping out to an early lead, Wright fought back on his backhand, securing a Perfect 10 and then backing it up with a 8.00 out of a possible 10 in the dying moments to take the heat.
"He got the jump of me so quick there," Wright said. "I was thinking, 'Alright, this guy's in the title race and he's not messing around'. Then my 10 was behind his wave and that put me back in the hunt. Right there at the end of the heat, he paddled and had a dig and then my last wave came through. I had to punch through a pretty big chandelier to get out of the barrel, but I'm stoked with that. I needed it, it's a pretty big confidence booster for me."
Wright will take on Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, in Quarterfinal 3 when competition resumes.
Adriano De Souza (BRA), 25, defending Rip Curl Pro Portugal winner and current ASP WCT No. 6, continued his impressive run at Supertubos today, claiming a Round 4 heat and advancing directly to the Quarterfinals.
"I'm motivated to do well and I'll just keep going," De Souza said. "I'm very quiet right now and nobody's talking about my name so it's very similar to last year and I'm happy. When I'm happy I perform better. I know the road to the Final here in Portugal, but right now in the middle of the road these are giant guys. It will be a challenge on the final day."
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, punctuated the afternoon with a sensation Round 4 bout against rapidly-improving rookie Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, and current ASP World No. 4 John John Florence (HAW), 20.
"In the beginning of the heat, I broke my board on the second wave so I was kind of sad, but then I think the new board actually works better so it's good that I found this one," Medina said. "I got a couple of 7s and a 9 and another 8. It's getting better right now and that was a lot of fun."
When competition resumes, up first will be Jeremy Flores (FRA), 24, up against Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, in the final heat of Round 5 at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:45am to assess conditions for a potential 8am start.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be available via http://live.ripcurl.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.50 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 5.33
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.24 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.50
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.33 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.43
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.73 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 6.17
Heat 7: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.20 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 5.27
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.23
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.27 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.83
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.43 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.33
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.27 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.60
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.77 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.84
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.50, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.80, John John Florence (HAW) 5.77
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.30, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.53, Josh Kerr (AUS) 6.26
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.46, Owen Wright (AUS) 13.07, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.40
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.06, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.93
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.57 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.84
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.03 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 5.80
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.00 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.54
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 5 MATCH-UP:
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
QF 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. TBD