2009 Rip Curl Pro Search Day 5 Photos

The hot action started early this cold morning. At nine. And it started across the spit at Lagido, the contest's official alternative site. It is alternative like Pearl Jam. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing on the sound system. Californication.The reason for alternative venue was wind related. Offshore always trumps onshore and it was offshore all day at Lagido.And it was cold. A slate grayness floated high in the sky, refusing to budge until the mid-afternoon. Sometimes it spat rain. Most the time it just floated, refreshing the sunburns of yesterday's spectators.Lagido was set up to host the party properly. There were coffee tents and VIP areas and Turismo de Portugal banners. It felt like a music festival. Kids were skipping school and adults skipping work. There were attractive youth wandering around distributing cell phone swag.And it was a party. A smattering of surf celebrities mingled. {{{Rabbit}}} Bartholomew, hair as slicked as it is grey. Healthy and full bodied, jogged by after an early session. Doug "Claw" Warbrick laughed gregariously. Martin Potter spoke with Dave Mailman about last night's drinking. And this morning's hangover. Mailman, yes. Pottz, no. Portuguese cultural celebrities mixed in. The Jardim family was represented. They are tabloid fodder in Portugal. Well-bred, well read and well fed. The daughter wore cowboy boots over tights and large glasses. She smiled as the flashbulbs popped. The mayor of Peniche is ever present and on this day the mayor of Mundaka was present as well. The mayor of Peniche wore a Rip Curl Search t-shirt. The mayor of Mundaka a black Billabong Pro t-shirt.The beach filled up as the day progressed. Townsfolk and tourists enjoying the loose vibe. Children, adults, the elderly. It seemed that the Portuguese are honest surf fans. They would clap when any surfer strung together a series hacks. They would moan when any surfer got caught up in the lip and crashed. They clapped for Nic Muscroft. They clapped for Timmy Reyes. And when they weren't clapping or moaning they were drinking coffee or beer. One couple danced samba to a Gavin Rossdale single.There was surf to clap for. It came in over the horizon, groomed by the consistent offshore breezes. Long walls breaking off a reef point. The right was mushy, the left lined up. The surfers always went left. Just overhead with room to gouge. It looked a bit slow and there were no sections for hi-fi punting but there was plenty of room for smooth. Roy Powers was smooth when he beat Dayyan Neve. Bruno Santos when he beat Mick Campbell.Dean Morrison surfed one of the better heats. He was pitted against local hero Justin Mujica but used a series of swooping backhand arcs to depose him. He chose the right waves.It is always about choosing the right waves.Drew Courtney chose the right waves as well and beat Dustin Barca in the highest scoring heat of the day. He hacked and hacked and hacked, garnering an 8.2 and a 7.8 on his last two rides. An impressive showing for the elderly rookie. A downcast Barca exited the scene quickly. Drew looked relieved. He is on the bubble like many and hoping to get through more heats in Portugal.It appeared fun all day. During some heats there were substantial lulls, but overall it was inviting. The sort of surf that would put a smile on your face as you zipped your wetsuit. I asked Rip Curl's Neil Ridgway if he was pleased with the event so far. He answered, "Yeah, you know. You always need a little bit of luck with these things but the surf has been good the last few days and everyone is having a good time."Martin Potter had had a good time the night before with commentator Dave Mailman. They drank the local brew, baga ceria. It is made from crushed grapes and has a ridiculous alcohol content. I will be drinking it tonight. And arm wrestling Brodie Carr.

Parko; dawn patrol

Mick Fanning - definitely in the running for happiest guy on tour. Heck, if everyone was leading the ratings, they'd probably be as happy as Mick too.

Joel Parkinson doing his best to dispel those pesky ankle injury rumors.

Josh Kerr's ankle is starting to perform better after weeks of treatment, but it wasn't enough to get him out of Round 1 later in the morning.

Heavy hitters at the Rip Curl Search: (L to R) Mayor Antonio Jose Correia, Former Minister of Economy Manuel Pinho, and Vice President CMP Jorge Amador.

Fred Patacchia

Tom Whitaker

Bede Durbidge; marning warm-up.

Wildcard Bruno Santos.

Michael Campbell tried his hardest, but was one-upped by wildcard Bruno Santos.

Mikey Picon is close to home, and had a close one against Chris Ward this morning. The Frenchman slipped by and now faces Taj Burrow in Round 2.

Roy Powers slipped past Dayyan Neve in Round 1.

Dustin Barca was the highest scoring surfer to win a heat in Round 1. Not exactly a title he's really happy about most likely.

Freddy Patacchia; Mad Wax-er.

See that nervous look in Pat Gudauskas' eye? It's because he faces Mick Fanning in Round 2. Just kidding Pat - give 'em hell.


Bad lighting? No way. Not with Roy Powers mega-watt smile to light up the beach.

Mikey Picon

Even on gloomy days the Portugese crowds travel pretty well.

Timmy Reyes has been signing a lot of autographs in the past few weeks. Maybe it has something to do with his Machado-esque haircut.

The local branch of the Roy Powers fan club. (He's huge in Portugal)

Powers takes a minute to sign a board for a grom.

Tim Reyes makes his way back up the beach after dispatching Jay Thompson.

Dustin Barca takes a minute for a fan pre-heat.