The penultimate stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) could see a conclusion to this year’s exciting title race and will play a crucial role in the battle for requalification.
Current ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA) has the chance to claim his maiden World Title at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal and become the first Brazilian ever to secure the surfing crown.
“It’s such a great wave here, which I really like to surf,” said Medina. “I’m excited to be here because I like to compete in Portugal but I definitely have some nerves coming into the event.”
After strong winds blasted the shores of Peniche yesterday the contest has been put on standby for a second consecutive lay day.
“Even though the winds have abated it's still out of the south and the swell is barely at the 1 foot mark”, said ASP Men's Tour Manager Renato Hickel. “We have called the competition off for the day and we'll come back tomorrow.”
11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is still in contention for the World Title and a win in Portugal will ensure that the title goes to Hawaii.
“It’s going to be a tough year here – both with the conditions and the competition,” said Slater. “I think it will be big this year though, which really suits me but we’ll have to wait and see. Supertubos can change really drastically depending on conditions.”
Current ASP World No. 5 John John Florence (HAW) is fresh from his first WCT victory of the year at the Quiksilver Pro France. The young surfer from Hawaii is one of five other surfers that remain in the running to win the title and stop the Brazilian.
“It feels great to win an event this year, especially after losing to Kelly (Slater) at Trestles,” said Florence. “I had a great rhythm in France and really hope to bring it here. I hope it’s big and barreling.”
Portuguese sensation Tiago Pires is preparing to compete in front of a home crowd after being absent from this competition last year due to injury. The event offers Pires, who is currently at 25th place on the WCT rankings, vital points towards to requalification for 2015.
“Last year I was hurt and I couldn’t compete,” said Pires. “This year I’m really happy to be here. I’m not thinking about the pressure but I’m focusing on support, and I have a lot of that here. At this event you have to be adaptable and ready for any conditions.”
Nic von Rupp (PRT) and Jacob Willcox (AUS) will compete alongside the ASP Top 34 and complete the field for the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Von Rupp won the trials to secure his place alongside the world’s best surfers and will face Slater in the first Round.
“This is the fourth year I’ve tried to win the trials and make it into the main event,” said Von Rupp. “I’m so happy to be competing and I hope we get some great conditions here at Supertubos.”
Willcox, the 17-year-old from Margaret River, received the Rip Curl wildcard for the event for the second year in the row. The young Australian defeated Slater in last year’s competition and will look to cause another upset when he faces Medina in Round 1.
“I definitely hope I can beat Gabriel (Medina) this year, but I’ll just have to wait and see what happens on the day,” said Willcox. “I just hope that the waves are good and there’s a few barrels.”
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 14 to assess conditions and make the next call.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal have called for:
A series of storms will impact the Peniche region over the next several days, bringing generally unfavorable wind for Supertubos and periods of rain. Wind driven, shorter period WSW to WNW swell mix continues on Monday with rebuilding and strong onshore wind at Supertubos. The next shorter to mid period swell mix builds in for Tue/Wed as moderate (Tue) to strong (Wed) onshore flow continues. A very solid WNW groundswell is on track for Thur/Fri with more onshore/southerly wind expected.
The following scenarios breakdown the remaining possibilities for Medina to clinch the 2014 ASP World Title at the upcoming Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal:
The Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be webcast LIVE via aspworldtour.com.
Moche Rip Curl Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Nico Von Rupp (PRT)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS), Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT)