Supertubos: finding the way out

Supertubos lived up to its nickname after delivering a full day of tube riding dreams at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2011, in Peniche. The clean four-to-six foot plus (1.5 – 2 metre) left and right waves completed the opening round of competition.

Tiago Pires, the local national hero, seemed to be accusing the pressure of playing in home waters and was relegated to Round 2.

Joel Parkinson wasted no time in lighting things up, opening the round with the highest heat total of the day, a 17.87 out of a possible 20, with some inspired tube-riding on his forehand.

“The conditions improved so much in the span of one heat when compared to the warm-up just before,” Parkinson said. “It was great and everyone was getting barrels and scores. I guess it just shows how quickly things can change out there.”

Although currently sitting at No. 3 on the ASP World Title rankings, Parkinson admits that his uncharacteristic early round loss at the previous event in France has significantly altered his mental approach to the rest of the year.

“With that loss in France, it seems like it really took me out of the World Title race,” Parkinson said. “It was disappointing, but I just went surfing after for a few daysit and focused on that and had a lot of fun. I think it was a good opportunity to reset for me and hopefully I can finish the season strong.”

Gabriel Medina matched Parkinson’s best result for the day with a 17.87 out of a possible 20 for a commanding display on both his forehand and backhand. In an impassioned heat between compatriot Raoni Monteiro and Tiago Pires it was the youngster that came out on top.

“We were all battling for waves out there,” Medina said. “At one point, Raoni (Monteiro) got his arm caught in my leash. That’s competition though. We’re all hungry for the win. The waves are really fun out there. I had two really good ones and I’m happy with the win.”

Brett Simpson scrapped his way to his own victory this afternoon. The Californian has been in sizzling form throughout the last several events and dominated his Round 1 bout in challenging high tide conditions.

“The tide is definitely pretty full this evening and I wasn’t expecting to get those ones that I did,” Simpson said. “With three guys and a small takeoff spot, you don’t want to be sitting there when the waves come – you want to be able to paddle into them. I’ve had some close heats in the last few events, but am stoked to be putting some scores on the board and am keen for a result in Portugal.”

Julian Wilson posted an impressive Round 1 victory today, carrying over the momentum from a career-best Runner-Up finish in France last week to secure a 17.50 out of a possible 20 en route to his opening victory over Miguel Pupo and Adam Melling.

“I think everything came together for me at the event last week,” Wilson said. “I was able to back myself and convince myself that I was able to take on the best guys in the world and I think that confidence has just been carrying over to Portugal. This is my first time to Peniche and probably my first proper surf out there. It’s a really fun wave and the forecast looks like we’re in for more as well.”

The frontrunners in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title continued to perform well today. Both Kelly Slater and Owen Wright posted commanding wins in their respective Round 1 bouts, advancing directly into Round 3 of competition.

RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.87, Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.47, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.93
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.80, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.00
Heat 3: Daniel Ross (AUS) 10.07, Taylor Knox (USA) 9.14, Taj Burrow (AUS) 7.12
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.23, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.34, Justin Mujica (PRT) 4.80
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.60, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.90, Francisco Alves (PRT) 7.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.10, Bruno Santos (BRA) 7.53, Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.70
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.43, John John Florence (HAW) 13.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4.87
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.87, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.90, Tiago Pires (PRT) 2.79
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.07, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.60, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 6.00
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 17.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 6.23, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.17
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.10, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.77, Kai Otton (AUS) 9.73
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.30, Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.24, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.33