Competition ran all weekend with wild upsets and dramatic changes to the ASP World Championship rankings as the top surfers in the world met at Supertubos in Portugal to complete Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Peniche and begin Round 3 of the event. Each athlete brought their A-game for the important competition that could very well decide the 2012 ASP World Title as well as the re-qualification positions. Raoni Moneiro from Brazil is back from injury and must stay strong going up against 11x World Champ, Kelly Slater (USA), when competition resumes.
Brett Simpson (USA) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) were challenged with the first heat of the day starting at 4:45pm, many hours after arrival to the beach in anticipation of a possible start. Simpson described being anxious throughout the day, keeping a close eye on the waves.
“We’ve been down since 6:30am assessing the conditions,” Simpson said. “Wilko (Matt Wilkinson) and I have been having fun all day as he was here, too – we’re friends out of the water, but we were just trying to catch the best waves we can. I had a really good opportunity to solidify my lead out there more, but was unable to.”
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) suffered a painful loss that will put a tough spin on his ASP WCT career for 2013. Despite Wilko’s completed rodeo flip in the last round and finding a few barrels against the American competitor, he was just short by tenths of a score to move on and gain much-needed ranking points. Simpson was able to manage a few modest scores despite the less than optimum conditions to move onto Round 3, where he will face young competitor, Gabriel Medina (BRA).
“My last few heats have been 2’s and 3’s and it’s been a little frustrating, but we’re all professionals,” Simpson said. “It’s a bummer for Wilko (Matt Wilkinson), but we both got chances. I want to keep my dreams alive on this Tour and I feel like I have a lot more to give to it, so hopefully I can just keep pushing.”
Advancing to Round 3, Kai Otton (AUS) faced Adam Melling (AUS) in their Round 2 battle in the small Peniche surf. Otton will face Owen Wright (AUS) when competition resumes.
“I was actually really lucky to get that good left,” Otton said. “I made a paddling mistake and I couldn’t catch the wave – maybe I’m too old. I don’t know, but I missed it and gave up priority and Adam (Melling) actually got a nice righthander straight after. I was just lucky enough that my left was behind that, otherwise he would have had the heat. Tomorrow looks reasonably good and there’s an Armageddon swell coming, which I think is going to wash away the whole scaffolding so they probably want to finish by Tuesday. Conditions like last year don’t come very often, so if we get even half of that it would be pretty amazing.”
The crowd thickened on the beach as Portugal’s sole Tour competitor, Tiago Pires, faced Californian Kolohe Andino (USA). Gaining momentum after recently returning from an injury, Andino (USA) eliminated the home crowd favored by fractions of a point.
“It’s finally paying off,” Andino said. “I’ve been trying really hard to wake up early, stretch and all that stuff. It’s a bummer for Tiago (Pires); he’s probably got all his people down here, but it’s cool to see that they’re really passionate about surfing and their surfers.” Andino made it back in time from his serious ankle injury to help his requalification campaign for 2013.
“I don’t worry about anything else except for trying to requalify and trying to have some good heats,” Andino said. “I was worried about trying to win an event at the start of the year, and I couldn’t even make a heat. Tavarua was the moment when it really popped… I had some time to regroup so I’m pretty happy that I’m making a few heats here and there.” Andino will face Taj Burrow (AUS) in Round 3.
Travis Logie (ZAF) moved on to to Round 3 of competition after defeating Damien Hobgood (USA).
“Damo (Hobgood) is a good friend of mine and he’s definitely one of the guys you don’t want to get out here, as he’s so good in the barrel,” Logie said. “He’s beaten me so many times in all sorts of ‘QS and ‘CT events, so I’m stoked to get one over him, but he’s a good friend I’m also bummed to see him down. I just want to take a moment to send a shout out to one of my best friend back home, Rat and his sister Jackie. Their father passed away this morning – this one’s for those guys.”
The Rip Curl Pro Peniche, Portugal resumed Sunday with the first 2 heats of Round 3 and then, due to poor swell conditions, the event was called off.
The opening heat of Round 3 matched John John Florence (HAW) with Travis Logie (ZAF) in slow conditions at Peniche. Though Florence is suffering minor injuries from chasing a perfect hollow wave just two days before, he managed to prevail in the heat to move on to the Round 4.
Gabriel Medina (BRA) put on his regular air show for fans in Portugal to eliminate Brett Simpson (USA). With several progressive maneuvers on his backhand and forehand, Medina will move directly onto Round 4.
“That was a tough heat against Brett (Simpson),” Medina said. “He surfed so well and I really thought he was going to get the scores on this last wave, but he didn’t make that last air so I’m stoked to make this one. That’s an important round for me; I really want to get a good result over here.”
Get ready to finish up Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Peniche, Portugal when competition resumes, starting with Taj Burrow (AUS) and Kolohe Andino (USA).
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 9: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.40
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 11.67 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 8.00
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.94 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.27
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.70 vs. Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.50
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 10.17 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 7.70
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.66 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 7.60
When competition resumes:
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)