Welcome Back To The 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal

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Did you miss me?
Yes and no. Yes because competitive surfing is one of life’s finest spectacles. No because the past few days have been a well-endowed chest of freesurfing treasure around the corner (when it’s onshore here, it’s…) from Peniche. Everyone got barreled. Kelly Slater landed a 540. Kolohe Andino had what many people are calling the best wave ever surfed (you’ll see soon enough). So we missed the 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, but only a little bit. And hey, don’t they say that distance only makes the heart grow fonder? After four lay days, the ASP was fond as all hell today. 21 heats! From dawn to dusk, from Mick Fanning to Kai Otton, from Holy shit Brett Simpson just beat Gabriel Medina to Holy shit Aritz Aranburu just beat Kelly Slater. Yeah. It was that kind of day.

Gotta (re)start somewhere…
And today, we restarted with Round 2. We saw 24 men who stumbled in Round 1 try to evade that damned 25th place. The morning tubes were super, thanks for asking. Just like…

Mick Fanning: Mick basically got 17.96 points before Jacob Wilcox even realized the heat started because he’s Mick Fanning and that’s what Mick Fanning does. That, and give firm handshakes.
Kolohe Andino: He didn’t surf the best wave ever surfed in his heat against Jeremy Flores, but he surfed well enough to get by. Next up: Filipe Toledo.
Dion Atkinson: Donald put a hurting on a 8.87 and with it, put a hurting on Matt Wilkinson. Wilko’s now going to be sniffing for some results at the last few primes of the year (or a win at Pipe) if he wants to be on the WCT in 2015. Maybe him and Don can travel to them together?
Michel Bourez, Alejo Muniz, Bede Durbidge and Freddy P. all won heats in Round 2. But they each did it with heat totals that didn’t meander into the double-digits. And don’t you dare hate the player. Hate the game. Tidal changes can put Supertubos in the worst mood.

Round 3, where champions aren’t born…
Not World Champions at least. We saw 10 heats of Round 3 today, and they were 10 of the most interesting of the year. Either that, or every little thing feels more important during Title season. Now let me tell you about…

Jordy Smith: Jordy started his heat against Freddy P. with a 9.5 and that was literally the only wave he needed to win the heat. When everything is clicking for Jordy, he is pretty much unbeatable. He has has to figure out how to make that click more rhythmic.
John John Florence: John got the event’s first perfect 10 and he backed it up with an 8.77. Immediately after his 10, nearly every single person in the competitors area jumped up and ran to go watch the replay on the webcast. So yeah, the armchair judges agreed with the score.
Brett Simpson: With his wife and baby girl on the beach, Brett beat Nat Young in a close Round 2 heat and then had the joy of coming up against Gabriel Medina. Brett got the first wave of that heat, a 7.33, and stayed picky while Gabriel caught 11 waves. Eventually, he backed up his first score with a 5.17. Gabriel needed a 5.78 toward the end of the heat, got a wave, claimed it AND CAME IN WITH ALMOST 3 MINUTEST LEFT. Obviously, he thought he got the score — and it was close — but you’d have to consider it a mental lapse on his part. He Brazilian stormed right off the beach afterwards, which is fine by me — the kid wants this title with all his heart. And now, he’ll have to take that heart to Pipeline.
Aritz Aranburu: How do you cheer up a 20-year-old kid with a broken heart? Defeat the biggest threat to his dream! With the help of a 7.5, Aritz beat Kelly in a slow heat today. Kelly didn’t Floridian storm off the beach, but the frustration was visible. He just hasn’t been able to capitalize on opportunities to gain ground on Gabriel. I overheard someone say that if Kelly wins Pipe and Gabriel finishes below 9th, title 12 will be all his. But that’s just hearsay.
Michel Bourez: 15.10 points and still smiling.
Kai Otton: The defending champ found 18.20 points in a place where Taj Burrow could only find 6.00. There’s some real chemistry between Ottz and Supertubos.

They say that tomorrow…
We could possibly see a (not world) champion crowned. —Brendan “Still Got Into A Restricted Parking Area With A Cascais Parking Pass And I Hope Nobody From ASP Security Is Reading This” Buckley

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 2 Results (1st to Round 3, 2nd finishes equal 25th):
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.93 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.43
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 11.67 def. Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 9.66
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.80 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 5.27
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.83
Heat 5: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.87 def. Nat Young (USA) 13.43
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.74 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 2.67
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 9.17 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 1.70
Heat 8: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.23 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 7.83
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.33 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 5.87
Heat 10: Adam Melling (AUS) advances to Round 3, C.J. Hobgood (USA) injured
Heat 11: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.20 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.00
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 6.90

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results (1st to Round 4, 2nd finishes equal 13th):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.93
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.83 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.83
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.77 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.27
Heat 4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 11.07 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.67
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.83
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.06
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.30
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.27 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.07
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.10 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.50
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.20 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.00

Upcoming Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Match-Ups (1st to Round 4, 2nd finishes equal 13th):
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Match-Ups (1st to Quarterfinals, 2nd and 3rd to Round 5):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (ESP), Josh Kerr (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS), TBD, TBD