The world’s best surfers have arrived in the sleepy, fishing hamlet of Peniche for Stop No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, held from October 10 – 21, 2012 at the infamous sand-bottom barrels of Supertubos.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, two-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 3, was the frontrunner for the bulk of the 2012 season, but fell from first to third on the elite ratings after an uncharacteristic Round 2 exit in France last week.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Fanning said. “I’ve never been in a Title race with so many people so close, it’s definitely something new. I stumbled a little bit and had an absolute shocker in France, but those things happen and you just got to try and bounce back. You know I enjoy it down here in Peniche, it’s a really cool place and hopefully we get good waves and have a good time. With how close that title race is right now, it’s a matter of having a look at what the other guys are doing and they all had good results in the last two events, so I just got to give it my all and hopefully I can be up there in the end and on that finals day I can do the best I can.”
Supertubos delivered phenomenal conditions for the 2011 installment and the event remains etched into the minds of the world’s best surfers.
“I guess what we saw last year of Supertubes was extremely World Class,” Fanning said. “That was the beautiful side of it, we saw the ugly side of it a few years ago, but I think that’s the good thing you never know what’s going to show up, but if it turns on it’s definitely up there with some of the best beachbreaks in the world.”
Fanning will take on compatriot Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, and tube specialist Dusty Payne (HAW), 23, in Round 1 of competition.
Tiago Pires (PRT), 32, is Portugal’s first and only representative on the the elite ASP World Championship Tour.
“I think Portugal already has a tradition for World Class waves,” Pires said. “It’s not all about Peniche, but the whole country pretty much. I remember in 1999 at a European event up north: I woke up one morning and looked out the window and it just looked like Kirra. So there are good waves everywhere and it just proves that we have a very good country for surfing.”
Currently ranked No. 24 on the ASP WCT rankings, Pires is in need of a solid result if he is to maintain his position amongst the world’s best.
“I feel really good, as good as always,” Pires said. “I’ve actually been on a roll of bad results in the last few events but I feel like I’m surfing my best and I have nothing to fear. I have a history of bad results in Peniche so there’s nothing new if I do bad here. I’m really motivated to do well here this year, and I’ll try to take advantage of all this special energy coming from the public, the fans to maybe try to give something for our country to smile about nowadays..”
Pires will face Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, and Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Magic Seaweed, official forecaster for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for:
- NNW swell for the weekend looking likely for head+ surf.
- Large storm system sending pulses of more westerly swell for next week with a very very mixed, but positive, longer range outlook.
Event organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 7:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
When competition commences, up first will be Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, Brett Simpson (USA), 27, and Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, in the opening heat of Round 1.
Stop No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Rip Curl Pro Portugal presented my Moche will culminate the Dream Tour’s European leg and play a vital role in the determination of the 2012 ASP World Champion.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current frontrunner on the ASP WCT rankings, overtook the tour’s top position from Gold Coast stablemate Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, at the recent Quiksilver Pro France, but remains guarded when discussing how the 2012 ASP World Title race will ultimately play out.
“Mick (Fanning) had the No. 1 position for most of the season but it’s so tight at the top this year that anything can happen from event to event,” Parkinson said. “I’ve had three Runner-Up finishes this year from Brazil, Tahiti and Trestles so I’m focused on a win in Portugal. It’s a great wave and I’m pumped to be heading back there.”
Finishing Equal 5th at last year’s incredible installment of the event (which saw it completed in iconic conditions in a record three days), Parkinson views the the venue as one of his strong points on tour.
“The event was phenomenal last year,” Parkinson said. “Just perfect sandbar barrels for three days straight. It was like a blur. I get excited just thinking about it and hopefully we get the same conditions this year. Bring on Supertubos!”
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 2, has been in devastating form lately, claiming back-to-back wins in California and Southwest France heading into the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
“When you start working the numbers a little bit, I got that 500 pointer and a 13th, two bad results, already,” Slater said. “Parko (Joel Parkinson) is sitting on a 9th and a 5th. If I couldn’t get past Parko in France, it would have put a lot of pressure on me, but this (winning Quiksilver Pro France) has now put the pressure back on Mick (Fanning) because Parko, John John (Florence) and I did well at the first European leg stop.”
A Runner-Up finish at last season’s Rip Curl Pro Portugal, the iconic natural-footer is nothing if not motivated to return to the Peniche’s world-renowned sandbar barrels.
“When it’s on, Supertubos is one of the funnest waves in the world,” Slater said. “Last year’s event had three perfect days of barrels and hopefully we can get similar conditions this year.”
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, defending Rip Curl Pro Portugal winner, is currently ranked 6th on the ASP WCT, dropping one position after an uncharacteristic Round 2 exit at the last event in France.
“France was not a good event for me but that happens and you shake it off and focus on the next one,” De Souza said. “I love coming to Portugal. The people here are very supportive and it feels like a second home for me. To win last year, in those conditions, was such an incredible moment for me. It was one of the highlights of my career. I’m very excited about returning to Portugal.”
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Kai Otton (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Dillon Perillo (USA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Pierre Valentin Laborde (FRA)
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)