2009 Sintra Portugal Pro

On this fine Saturday, the surfing conditions were more suited to washing your dirty clothes than actually catching waves as the women’s semi finals got underway in sunny Sintra, Portugal.

The day started with incredible man-on-man heats for the men; many amazing waves in the trying conditions, with just as many upsets as the world’s elite struggled to get back to the take-off zone after being pounded by the 2 metre swell and strong currents.

Mitch Rawlin’s was really unlucky in the first heat of R8. He picked up a wave in the first 10 seconds that netted him an 8.25 average and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to get out. He finally got back in the line-up to find a 3.25 but, in true Rawlins fashion, went for a massive invert and got caught in the suds. Exit Rawlins with a 2.0.

The next heat was equally amazing with AmauryLaverhne holding off a determined Michael Novy who also fell short by 5.01.

Heat 3 and Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard continued his push for another World Title with a polished win over Manuel Centeno who was also pounded by the thumping swell.

In the 4th Fenchman Pierre Luis Costes kept his slim title hopes alive with a victory over Brazilian Paulo Barcellos and the next featured Hugo Pinheiro sneaking past an inform Aritz Larinaga.

Heat 6 was always going to be a classic with Hardy V Valadao. This is like a “Rumble in the jungle” type clash for bodyboarders and the crowd thickened for the battle of the heavyweights.

They went punch for punch until the knockout blow came from Hardy at the ¾ mark with a hard hitting invert that Valadao could not recover from.

Diego Cabrera lost in the dying seconds to Mark McCathy on an interference and Ben Player had Dave Winchester rapped up early to roll into tomorrows quarters.

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2009 Sintra Portugal Pro

A cool change greeted competitors for day 4 at Praia Grande’ and the day started as nippy and overcast but things soon heated up when the IBA Top 16 hit the water.

R7 is always a highlight when you get the top seeds taking on the inform qualifiers in the “money round” & you could almost feel the tension in the air as the first heat started and the front runners in the 2009 IBA World Title race started their campaign.

Heat 1 and Brazilian Eder Luciano and Australia’s Michael Novy dominate the line-up with superior positioning and solid moves to leave Oliver Herrera (Canary Isle) and GuilhermeTamega (Brazil) in their wake. Tamega looked he waited for a wave that never came and the current ratings leader was gone in the blink of an eye. If that can happen to GT, then everyone was on notice from the get go.

Heat 2 was a see-sawing affair that saw AmauryLaverhne (Re-Union) take control at the halfway mark and never looked like failing. That left the other three guys to battle for second and in the end Mitch Rawlins (Aust) held off Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) and Magno Oliveira (Brazil).

Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) continued his great form with a win in the 3rd. Brazilian Paulo Barcellos scored the wave he needed in the dying seconds to finish second ahead of GilhermoCobo (Spain) and Andre Botha (Sth Africa).

The 4th heat was a tough one as the ocean started to change and the good waves were harder to find. Pierre Luis Costes (France) made the most of the conditions and moved through with Portugals Manuel Centeno. Exit BenatElosua (Spain) and Airam Cabrera (Canary Isle)

Former World champion Damian King (Australia) and Goncarlo Silva (Portugal) were beaten by Hugo Pinheiro (Portugal) and current World Champion Uri Valadao (Brazil) in the 5th. By this time the cross-shore winds were leaving some surface scarring and creating some ribs in the wave face and the bigger scores were tough to nail.

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2009 Sintra Portugal Pro

Day three at the Sintra Portugal Pro was almost a carbon copy of yesterday with blue skies, clean waves and non stop action.

In 1/4 final 1 of the Women, Rita Pires (Port) dominated the line-up with Jessica Becker (Brazil) to move into the man-on-man heats in the next round.

The next one was just as entertaining as Isabella Sousa (Brazil) continued here run through with a win over Neymara Carvalho (Brazil). Isabella is surfing incredible and looks to be one of the standout's so far in this WTT Grand Slam.

1/4 final 3 and current ratings leader Eunate Aguirre (Spain) showed why she is the leader of the pack with a polished display of competitive surfing advancing with Marta fernandez (Port)  and the last 1/4 saw Luz Marie Grand Perez (PRC) progress with Catarina Sousa (Port).

Standout's on the Mens R6 were the Australian team of Mitch Rawlin', Michael Novy, Brad Hughes and Damian King, as well as Andre Botha (Sth Africa) Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) Pablo Prieto (Germany) and Lucas Nogueira (Brazil) 

Portugal's Goncalo Silva was the only remaining local left from the qualifying rounds and will meet the Top 16 in R7.

Spanish riders have also faired well once again with Guilhermo Cobo, Benta Eloshua, Aritz Larinag & Alex Uranga all making it through.

Canary Island locals also enjoyed the clean sizey peaks as Diego Cabrera, Oliver Herrera & Airem Cabrera secured a birth in R7.

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