Taj Burrow vs. Jason Andre, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

ASP World Title Contenders Soar Amidst Perfect 10s at Rip Curl Pro Portugal Day 1


Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
SUPERTUBOS, Peniche/Portugal

Matt Wilkinson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Matt Wilkinson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

The Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012 commenced today with Round 1 and the opening eight heats of Round 2 completed in improving three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at the primary venue of Supertubos.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal plays a vital role in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title and today saw no shortage of fireworks from this season’s top contenders.

Joel Parkinson  (AUS), 31, current ASP WCT No. 1, was in sizzling form for today’s Round 1, posting the morning’s highest heat total of a 17.17 out of a possible 20.

Matt Wilkinson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Matt Wilkinson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

“There are a few waves out there for sure,” Parkinson said. “Supertubos is a really fun wave. This morning was tough as there weren’t really a lot of waves breaking through so you had to be on the ones that offered the most scoring opportunity.”
Parkinson advances through to Round 3 of competition.Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 2, finished Runner-Up at the 2011 installment of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal and continued his dominant form here today, besting fellow Floridian Damien Hobgood (USA), 33, and wildcard Dillon Perillo (USA), 22, in their Round 1 bout.

Kelly Slater, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Kelly Slater, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

“My preparation varies from event to event,” Slater said. “Supertubos, on its day, is one of the funner waves we have one tour. It can be big and barreling and close to shore and the crowd is right there so you feel like you’re interacting with them in the lineup. It’s a great place.”
Mick Fanning  (AUS), 31, former two-time ASP World Champion (2007, 2009), suffered an uncharacteristic Round 1 loss this morning to compatriot Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, but was back to typical form this afternoon, eliminating wildcard Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA), 21, in Round 2 with an impressive 16.17 out of a possible 20 heat total.

Aleajo Moniz,, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Aleajo Moniz,, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

“I was a little bit freaked out this morning,” Fanning said. “The waves weren’t that great so I just wanted to go out again and catch waves in this afternoon’s heat. I’ve been a little bit on edge in the last few heats in France and this morning, so it was good to get a few waves under the belt and just relax a little.”

With conditions improving throughout the day, the performance level continued to rise throughout the afternoon, yielding the first three Perfect 10s of the event.

Breett Simpson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Breett Simpson, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, ASP WCT No. 9 and into his first full year amongst the world’s elite, punctuated the day’s affairs with the first Perfect 10 of the event for an impressive forehand barrel completed with an impressive forehand air.

“That was fun,” Medina said. “I dropped in that wave and started pumping in the barrel and it was just too perfect. I did a little straight air at the end, and it was a pretty sick wave. It felt great, I heard everyone screaming for me right on the beach and it’s a good feeling to have the crowd with you. It’s a lot of fun.”

Medina was joined for former ASP World Champion (2001) C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, in attaining Perfect 10s today with Hobgood threading a lengthy lefthander and Tahitian Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, for an incredibly critical forehand barrel of his own.

Taj Burrow vs. Jason Andre, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012
Taj Burrow vs. Jason Andre, Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2012

When competition resumes, up first will be Brett Simpson (USA), 27, against Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 24, in Heat 9 of Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:45 to assess conditions for a potential 8am start.
Magic Seaweed, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for:
– Dropping surf from the current swell into Sunday.
– Potential pause on Monday morning before longer period swell fills in into the later afternoon.
– Suggestions in delay of onshore conditions make Tuesday a possibility for contestable surf.
– Remaining probability that the waiting period from Wednesday onward will suffer strong and disruptive onshore winds.

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