World title hopefuls tumble like dice at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal…
Supertubos is my favorite wave in Europe and I’ve gotten the best barrels of my life there. I live in Portugal. I know how good it gets. I love the joint.
Now get this stop off the fucking tour.
Or make it mobile.
As the second-last event on tour, the implications of this stop are obvious. Last year, Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater were eliminated in consecutive round three heats by Brett Simpson and Aritz Aranburu. The waves sucked and the world title was on the line.
This year, the victims are Owen Wright and Julian Wilson, numbers three and four in the title race. Both are almost certainly eliminated from contention after consecutive round two losses, both served up by contest alternates in barely QS-worthy waves.
Owen summed it up in his post-heat interview when asked about the world title implications of the loss, saying he “hadn’t surfed waves like that in years… that’s the part I’m pretty spewin’ about. Apart from my performance, I felt like I did ok, but yeah, the world title part I’m devastated about that. To go out in conditions like this, you know, this is not what we surf all year. This is a one off. It’s a crucial heat for me, and you know, its one foot. There’s no hiding from that. I’m pissed off about it.”
Julian mustered a similar, yet more concise response: “It’s hard. You work so hard all year to get in the title race and it comes down to those conditions. It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure.”
At this time of year, Supertubos can be real fickle, mostly due to the shiftiness of the wind. There can easily be a week straight of south wind (as was seen the two previous years) or west wind (which will make its debut during next week’s run of swell), in which case it’s shit for Supertubos.
However, I’m sure everyone remembers all the dreamy GoPro barrel footage from last year’s comp. Just in case you forgot, it’s the same footage being looped throughout this year’s broadcast. Yes, that was in the Peniche area, and yes, it was firing like that exactly during the contest window.
What makes it even more ironic is that the stretch of coast at which it was filmed happens to lay directly in front of where the majority of the competitors stay while in Peniche and is no more than ten minutes from Supertubos. The same thing happened two years ago as well.
What makes Peniche (and Portugal as a whole) such a good place to go surfing is that there are beaches angled in every direction, all of which get swell. To put that it into perspective, during these last two shitty days of competition, there were spots within 30-minute drive that were firing (or at least much better than Supertubos).
Even now, they are claiming that there are waves on the way. However, it’s obvious the wind is going to be straight onshore. I guess big junk is better than little junk, right?
I got a little advice for the WSL. Mobilise and use the bounty of easily accessible waves in the region or take this event off tour.
Either that, or just come straight out and say that wave quality is simply not the top priority for WSL. Given how important this event is to both the local economy and the thriving Portuguese surf scene in general, I can guarantee permits are not the issue.
Sack up or pack up.
And now the highlights!
Round two results:
Heat 1: A. de Souza, 12.43, T. Pires 6.17
Heat 2: C. Ibelli 13.33, O. Wright 12.37
Heat 3: M. Ho 13.93, J. Wilson 13.06
Heat 4: I. Ferreira 11.50, T. Hermes 9.74
Heat 5: J. Flores 12.76, A. Aranburu 12.00
Heat 6: R. Christie 10.73, W. Dantas 8.70
Heat 7: J. Florence 16.20, G. Hall 8.70
Heat 8: K. Otton, C. Hobgood
Heat 9: J. Parkinson, A. Melling
Heat 10: A. Buchan, S. Zietz
Heat 11: J. Andre, K. Andino
Heat 12: M. Pupo, M. Bourez