SUPERTUBOS, Peniche/Portugal (Saturday, October 13, 2012) - The Rip Curl Pro Portugal commenced today with Round 1 and the opening eight heats of Round 2 completed in improving three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at the primary venue of Supertubos.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal plays a vital role in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title and today saw no shortage of fireworks from this season's top contenders.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current ASP WCT No. 1, was in sizzling form for today's Round 1, posting the morning's highest heat total of a 17.17 out of a possible 20.
"There are a few waves out there for sure," Parkinson said. "Supertubos is a really fun wave. This morning was tough as there weren't really a lot of waves breaking through so you had to be on the ones that offered the most scoring opportunity."
Despite sitting at No. 1 on the ASP WCT rankings, Parkinson has yet to claim an event win this year, something he intends to remedy at the 2012 Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
"I'm here to win," Parkinson said. "Everyone is. I've had a few seconds this year but am keen to put a win on the board. I'm not thinking about the World Title race really. I need to get some wins first before that can become a reality."
Parkinson advances through to Round 3 of competition.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 2, finished Runner-Up at the 2011 installment of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal and continued his dominant form here today, besting fellow Floridian Damien Hobgood (USA), 33, and wildcard Dillon Perillo (USA), 22, in their Round 1 bout.
"My preparation varies from event to event," Slater said. "Supertubos, on its day, is one of the funner waves we have one tour. It can be big and barreling and close to shore and the crowd is right there so you feel like you're interacting with them in the lineup. It's a great place."
While Slater sits at No. 2 on the ASP WCT rankings, the iconic Floridian holds three wins for the season (Fiji, Trestles, France) and is in a commanding position for the final three events of the year.
"No pressure at the moment," Slater said. "I obviously have to perform in the last three events and so do all the other guys. When the race is close like it is this year, it's definitely a lot more exciting and I feel like I perform well in those situations. The younger guys like Gabriel (Medina) and John John (Florence) and that whole generation are so talented. I'm lucky that I probably only have to compete against them for three more events."
Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, former two-time ASP World Champion (2007, 2009), suffered an uncharacteristic Round 1 loss this morning to compatriot Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, but was back to typical form this afternoon, eliminating wildcard Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), 21, in Round 2 with an impressive 16.17 out of a possible 20 heat total.
"I was a little bit freaked out this morning," Fanning said. "The waves weren't that great so I just wanted to go out again and catch waves in this afternoon's heat. I've been a little bit on edge in the last few heats in France adn this morning, so it was good to get a few waves under the belt and just relax a little."
Currently seated No. 3 on the ASP WCT rankings, Fanning finds himself once again in the battle for the highly-coveted ASP World Title.
"It's been a while and I sort of almost moved on from those first two World Titles," Fanning said. "I've been trying to re-invent myself so I'm not too stressed and I'm having a lot more fun this year. I just want to surf well and if I can do that consistently you know I'll be happy."
With conditions improving throughout the day, the performance level continued to rise throughout the afternoon, yielding the first three Perfect 10s of the event.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, ASP WCT No. 9 and into his first full year amongst the world's elite, punctuated the day's affairs with the first Perfect 10 of the event for an impressive forehand barrel completed with an impressive forehand air.
"That was fun," Medina said. "I dropped in that wave and started pumping in the barrel and it was just too perfect. I did a little straight air at the end, and it was a pretty sick wave. It felt great, I heard everyone screaming for me right on the beach and it's a good feeling to have the crowd with you. It's a lot of fun."
Medina was joined for former ASP World Champion (2001) C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, in attaining Perfect 10s today with Hobgood threading a lengthy lefthander and Tahitian Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, for an incredibly critical forehand barrel of his own.
When competition resumes, up first will be Brett Simpson (USA), 27, against Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 24, in Heat 9 of Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:45 to assess conditions for a potential 8am start.
Magic Seaweed, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for:
– Dropping surf from the current swell into Sunday.
– Potential pause on Monday morning before longer period swell fills in into the later afternoon.
– Suggestions in delay of onshore conditions make Tuesday a possibility for contestable surf.
– Remaining probability that the waiting period from Wednesday onward will suffer strong and disruptive onshore winds.
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 ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 6.30, Brett Simpson (USA) 5.06, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 3.67
Heat 2: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.33, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.36, Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.73
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 14.73, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 7.34, Kai Otton (AUS) 4.13
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.67, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.70, Dusty Payne (HAW) 2.33
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.67, Dillon Perillo (USA) 6.60, Damien Hobgood (USA) 5.90
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.17, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.36, Pierre Valentin Laborde (FRA) 2.96
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.26, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.94, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 7.65
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.70, Taylor Knox (USA) 7.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 5.53
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.50, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.83, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.67
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.00, Adam Melling (AUS) 11.87, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.67
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.73, Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.83, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.03
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.53, Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.27, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 3.13
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.17 def. Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA) 6.17
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.33 def. Dillon Perillo (USA) 10.37
Heat 3: Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.80 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.77
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.50 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 17.73
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.73 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.93
Heat 6: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 15.00 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.93
Heat 7: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 16.10 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.24
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.63 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 12.33
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 9: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)