The final four Round 2 heats of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal were completed this afternoon in challenging two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Supertubos.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal not only plays an important role in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title, but also the requalification campaigns of the world’s best surfers.
“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 solidify my lead out there more, but was unable to.”
While the heat didn’t offer tremendous scoring opportunity, Simpson was relieved to put up some modest score on the board in hopes of building momentum throughout the latter rounds.
“My last few heats have been 2s and 3s and it’s been a little frustrating but we’re all professionals,” Simpson said. “we’re down here and we just want to get the best waves. I’m excited, 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.”
Simpson will face Gabriel Medina.
Kai Otton (AUS), 32, compatriot Adam Melling (AUS), 27, in a slow affair this afternoon, advancing directly to Round 3 of competition.
“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 Armaggeddon swell coming which I think it’s going to wash away the whole scaffolding so they probably want to finish by Tuesday. You know, conditions like last year don’t come very often so if we get even half of that, it’d be pretty amazing.”
Otton has drawn Owen Wright (AUS), 22, in the next round of competition.
Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, 2012 ASP WCT rookie, continued his form run throughout Europe defeating sole Portuguese representative Tiago Pires (PRT), 32, in the final heat of the day.
“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.”
Following a mid-season injury that sidelined him for several events, Andino’s recent performance has helped his requalification campaign to rejoin the world’s elite in 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 like the moment when it really popped, I made a fool of myself after I loss to Tiago (Pires) and then I got injured so I had some time to regroup so I’m pretty happy that I’m making a few heats here and there.”
Andino will take on Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, when competition resumes.
Travis Logie (ZAF), 33, current ASP WCT No. 27, survived a hard-fought battle against tour stalwart Damien Hobgood (USA), 33, in this afternoon’s
“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.”
When competition resumes, up first will be John John Florence (HAW), 19, up against Travis Logie (ZAF), 31, in Heat 1 of Round 3 at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:45am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
Magic Seaweed, official forecaster for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, is calling for:
– Mix of smaller swell on Monday morning before longer period swell fills in into the later afternoon.
– Tuesday sees a transition from northerly winds to onshore westerly conditions.
– Disruptive storm creating onshore conditions through the middle of the week.
– Possible transition between storms hints at contestable conditions sometime around Fri/Sat before the risk of another storm creating problem winds towards the end of the window.