Over the weekend, Portugal welcomed a W-NW swell and light offshores while the Men's Top 34 headed out for a few pre-event freesurfs. The 'CT lineup was happy to freesurf in bigger conditions, especially after a smaller conclusion in France. Dusty Payne, who missed last year's event in Peniche due to injury, looking healthy and ready to cause some late-season drama in the rankings.
Photo: Moran

Kai Otton's first career win came in Portugal in 2013. Otton, scoping a repeat in history through the eye of the barrel. Photo: Miller

Sebastian Zietz–the season-long replacement for the injured Bede Durbidge– salutes the right side of an emerald A-frame. Photo: Moran

Jack Freestone, giving a double-finger salute. Photo: Miller

Dusty Payne. Photo: Moran

Sebastian Zietz. Photo: Moran

Jordy Smith made his return to the 2015 'CT just after the Portugal event, and he's waited a year to deliver layback hacks like this in Peniche. Photo: Moran

Dusty Payne. Photo: Moran

Jordy Smith, looking for the helipad. Photo: Moran

John Florence is 2,700 points ahead of Gabriel Medina before the second-to-last event of the season, and although he's strung together excellent-range heats in the past at Portugal, the World No.1 will need as much room as possible heading into Pipe. Florence, creating space. Photo: Moran

A micro mindsurf. Photo: Moran

A John Florence air goes off-kilter in an offshore breeze. Photo: Moran

Hurricane Nicole trekking across the North Atlantic could bring the golden NW swell that Peniche needs in order to fire. Photo: Moran

Julian Wilson chucks the fins high on a rolling right. Photo: Miller

A fifth-place finish in France for Matt Banting, who floats dangerously close to the 'CT requalification bubble, will give the rookie some much-needed momentum heading to Peniche. Photo: Miller

Stu Kennedy, doing all the right set-up work. Photo: Miller

Stu Kennedy. Photo: Moran

Florence, grabbing rail and heading for the exit. Photo: Moran

Seabass, crushing through the lip with his back foot. Photo: Moran