Clean four-to-six foot plus (1.5 – 2 metre) left and right barrels graced the primary site of Supertubos this afternoon as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal completed the opening round of competition.
Event No. 9 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will play a pivotal role in determining the 2011 ASP World Champion as well as provide an important opportunity for the world’s best surfers looking to remain amongst the elite ASP Top 34.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, wasted no time in lighting things up today, opening the round with the highest heat total of the day, a 17.87 out of a possible 20, with some inspired tube-riding on his forehand.
“The conditions improved so much in the span of one heat when compared to the warm-up just before,” Parkinson said. “It was great and everyone was getting barrels and scores. I guess it just shows how quickly things can change out there.”
Although currently sitting at No. 3 on the ASP World Title rankings, Parkinson admits that his uncharacteristic early round loss at the previous event in France has significantly altered his mental approach to the rest of the year.
“With that loss in France, it seems like it really took me out of the World Title race,” Parkinson said. “It was disappointing, but I just went surfing after for a few daysit and focused on that and had a lot of fun. I think it was a good opportunity to reset for me and hopefully I can finish the season strong.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, hot off the heels of his first elite tour victory in France last week, matched Parkinson’s best result for the day with a 17.87 out of a possible 20 for a commanding display on both his forehand and backhand. In an impassioned heat between compatriot Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 29, and Tiago Pires (PRT), 31, it was the youngster that came out on top.
“We were all battling for waves out there,” Medina said. “At one point, Raoni (Monteiro) got his arm caught in my leash. That’s competition though. We’re all hungry for the win. The waves are really fun out there. I had two really good ones and I’m happy with the win.”
Brett Simpson (USA), 26, scrapped his way to his own victory this afternoon. The Californian has been in sizzling form throughout the last several events and dominated his Round 1 bout in challenging high tide conditions.
“The tide is definitely pretty full this evening and I wasn’t expecting to get those ones that I did,” Simpson said. “With three guys and a small takeoff spot, you don’t want to be sitting there when the waves come – you want to be able to paddle into them. I’ve had some close heats in the last few events, but am stoked to be putting some scores on the board and am keen for a result in Portugal.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, 2011 ASP Dream Tour rookie, posted an impressive Round 1 victory today, carrying over the momentum from a career-best Runner-Up finish in France last week to secure a 17.50 out of a possible 20 en route to his opening victory over Miguel Pupo (BRA), 19, and Adam Melling (AUS), 26.
“I think everything came together for me at the event last week,” Wilson said. “I was able to back myself and convince myself that I was able to take on the best guys in the world and I think that confidence has just been carrying over to Portugal. This is my first time to Peniche and probably my first proper surf out there. It’s a really fun wave and the forecast looks like we’re in for more as well.”
The frontrunners in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title continued to perform well today. Both Kelly Slater (USA), 39, current ASP World No. 1, and Owen Wright (AUS), 21, current ASP World No. 2, posted commanding wins in their respective Round 1 bouts, advancing directly into Round 3 of competition.
When competition resumes, up first will be Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, and wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA), 28, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be available via http://live.ripcurl.com
The Morning Show from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be webcast LIVE from 7:30am to 8pm tomorrow morning, as well as broadcast LIVE on FUEL TV in Australia and Portugal, Ma Chaine Sport in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and Africa as well as ESPN in Brazil.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for a new, long period northwest swell to be strongest tomorrow and then will fade through the middle to second half of the week. At this point, wind conditions look generally favorable for tomorrow. Much stronger wind will pick up for Tuesday-Thursday, but will still be from a decent direction for Supertubos.
For additional information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.87, Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.47, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.93
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.80, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.00
Heat 3: Daniel Ross (AUS) 10.07, Taylor Knox (USA) 9.14, Taj Burrow (AUS) 7.12
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.23, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.34, Justin Mujica (PRT) 4.80
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.60, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.90, Francisco Alves (PRT) 7.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.10, Bruno Santos (BRA) 7.53, Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.70
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.43, John John Florence (HAW) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4.87
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.87, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.90, Tiago Pires (PRT) 2.79
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.07, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.60, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.00
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 17.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 6.23, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.17
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.10, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.77, Kai Otton (AUS) 9.73
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.30, Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.24, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.33
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Francisco Alves (BRA)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Justin Mujica (PRT)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 7: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Photo: Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, fresh off his maiden elite tour win in France last week, was one of the standout performers in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.