For the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Search will be heading to Western Europe and the reportedly near-flawless beachbreak tubes of Peniche, Portugal. Renowned for its solid sandbank setups and a laidback lifestyle, the wave slated to host the fabled floating event has been dubbed "Supertubos" and by all accounts consistently lives up to its moniker.
According to Rip Curl Marketing Director Dylan Slater, "We've been checking out Portugal as a potential location for the Search for about a year now. We've been all over the globe in the past and we wanted to bring the event to Europe this year. Last year, we had this tropical, warm-water perfection in Indo, and this year we wanted to mix that up with some coldwater surf. That's what we're really trying to do...you're guaranteed a curveball with the Search."
Set against a traditional, old-world fishing town, the peaks among Peniche, most notably Supertubes, are said to be among some of the finest Europe has on offer. To be blunt: it gets damn-near perfect with alarming amounts of frequency.
Rip Curl's history with the town of Peniche has proven to be long-lived as well with the company sponsoring events in the area for nearly 20 years. In the past, European surfers like Marlon Lipke, Tim Boal, and Mikael Pikon have found success in Peniche and at Supertubes on the junior and 'QS levels. With their experience in the region, the Europeans will undoubtedly have an edge when the tour makes landfall on October 19.
To further the drama at the comp, in the past three years, the Irons Brothers have won every Search event--Andy claimed wins in Mexico and Chile while Bruce took a scalp in Indo last year-- with the exception of Reunion Island in 2005 where Mick Fanning took the inaugural win. With the Brothers Irons enjoying the good life on the Garden Island this year, that leaves Fanning as the only current competitor on Tour to have found glory in the history of the Search.
Additionally, the Search will occupy a new position on the Tour's schedule in 2009. This year, the event will be run as the second-to-last stop, leaving the possibility for World Tour fireworks to blow up all the way down to the finish line.
“The hype of possibly crowning the ASP World Champion is an awesome by-product of the date change, but the main reason the ASP surfers love the Rip Curl Pro Search is because it has delivered perfect waves and amazing experiences in each of the four years its been held in Reunion Island, Mexico, Chile and Bali,” said Scott Hargreaves, Rip Curl event manager. “With that said, we'd definitely like to present both the Rip Curl Planet Trophy and the ASP World Title Trophy on the same stage!”
This year's Search event will also include a stop for the Women's World Tour in Portugal as well.
According to current Women's World Tour champ Stephanie Gilmore, "...I think it's really exciting that the ASP Women's World Tour is jumping onboard for the adventure."