The Rip Curl Pro Portugal stormed through 21 heats of competition today as the primary site of Supertubos delivered flawless six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) barrels from sun up to sun down.
Event No. 9 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal enjoyed an historic day of action with the world’s best surfers posting near-perfect scores throughout the day as Supertubos delivered world-class action.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, 2011 ASP Top 34 rookie, went blow-for-blow against compatriot Kai Otton (AUS), 31, in the heat of the event today. Otton posted a near perfect 9.97 out of a possible 10 on his opening ride and backing it up with an excellent 8.43 to put the youngster on the back foot early on. However, Wilson would answer back in champion fashion, netting a 9.43 early in the heat before pulling into a cavernous bomb for a 9.70 and the heat win.
“That was an amazing heat,” Wilson said. “My hat goes off to Otto (Kai Otton) as he was getting some ridiculous barrels and really put the pressure on me early. I’ve been watching the conditions all day long and have been trying not to froth out too hard, but they’re just so perfect. It’s truly Dream Tour stuff out there today.”
Finishing Equal 3rd at Lower Trestles and Runner-Up at La Graviere, the young Australian has been building an impressive momentum throughout the last several events and would be considered one of the more dangerous surfers remaining in the field.
“I’ve been very confident in my surfing the past few events and I really feel like I belong at this level of competition,” Wilson said. “I felt like I was right there at the last event in France and I’m really keen to put up another result. The win is always the goal.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, navigated the challenging high tide afternoon conditions today with characteristic aplomb, besting an in-form Daniel Ross (AUS), 28, to advance through to Round 4.
“There are still a lot of fun waves out there but the tide is definitely changing things up,” Slater said. “My plan was to go out and catch a lot of waves and I actually made a little priority mistake in there. Dan (Ross) is one of those underrated guys. He’s a big guy so I knew he wouldn’t be taking the smaller waves and I knew he was capable of getting big scores.”
With his Round 3 victory this afternoon, Slater moves one step closer to clinching ASP World Title No. 11, but the iconic Floridian remains characteristically nonchalant about the possibility.
“Counting Portugal, there are still three events left and a lot of points so it’s far from over,” Slater said. “Obviously another result here would long ways towards it but there’re still quite a few guys remaining in the hunt that are still in the event so we’ll see how it all pans out.”
John John Florence (HAW), 17, newcomer to the ASP Top 34 following September’s rotation, posted the highest heat total of the event this morning, a 19.53 out of a possible 20, to eliminate Adrian Buchan (AUS), 29, in Round 2 of competition.
“It’s unreal out there this morning,” Florence said. “It reminds me a lot of Backdoor and Pipe but with a sandy bottom. I was having so much fun. I just kept taking off on everything that came through.”
Florence will now face current ASP World No. 2 Owen Wright (AUS), 21, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
“Owen (Wright) is good in pretty much any conditions,” Florence said. “We had a pretty close heat in Trestles and he beat me. I feel confident in these kinds of conditions though. So hopefully we have good waves for our heat.”
Florence was joined by fellow Hawaiian Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 29, who dispatched of current No. 5 on the ASP World Title rankings Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, in Round 3 of competition.
Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, punctuated the day’s affairs with the first Perfect 10 of the event for a monster forehand barrel to the adulation of the thousands on the beach.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:45am for a possible 8am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, and Travis Logie (ZAF), 32, in Heat 9 of Round 3.
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 strong northwest swell will fill in further on today, ease on Tuesday and then fade further on Wednesday. A smaller, reinforcing north swell could then move in on Thursday to keep the surf from dropping too quickly. Wind conditions will be generally favorable for Supertubos Monday with light wind in the morning building in the afternoon.
For additional information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.74 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 10.97
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10 def. Francisco Alves (BRA) 6.57
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.83 def. Justin Mujica (PRT) 8.64
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.77 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 15.23
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.90
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 19.53 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.97
Heat 7: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.20
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.04 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.87
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.97 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.93
Heat 10: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.63 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.27
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.43 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.76
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.73 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.30
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.57 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 8.43
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.33 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 15.30
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 19.13 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 18.40
Heat 4: Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.10 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 5.10
Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.77 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.20
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.86 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 16.37
Heat 7: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.06 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.90
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 18.33 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.17
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Photo: John John Florence (HAW), 17, newcomer to the ASP Top 34 after September’s rotation, eliminated Adrian Buchan (AUS), 29, with a near-perfect 19.53 out of a possible 20 in Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal today.