Tiago Pires: unlucky home waters

One perfect 10 wave ride and the most incredible barrels of the 2011 ASP World Tour, so far. Flawless six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) barrels pumped the souls at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2011, in Supertubos.

In one of the most amazing heats of the last years, Julian Wilson went blow-for-blow against compatriot Kai Otton. Otton posted a near perfect 9.97 out of a possible 10 on his opening ride and backing it up with an excellent 8.43 to put the youngster on the back foot early on. However, Wilson would answer back in champion fashion, netting a 9.43 early in the heat before pulling into a cavernous bomb for a 9.70 and the heat win.

“That was an amazing heat,” Wilson said. “My hat goes off to Otto (Kai Otton) as he was getting some ridiculous barrels and really put the pressure on me early. I’ve been watching the conditions all day long and have been trying not to froth out too hard, but they’re just so perfect. It’s truly Dream Tour stuff out there today.”

“I’ve been very confident in my surfing the past few events and I really feel like I belong at this level of competition,” Wilson said. “I felt like I was right there at the last event in France and I’m really keen to put up another result. The win is always the goal.”

Kelly Slater navigated the challenging high tide afternoon conditions today with characteristic aplomb, besting an in-form Daniel Ross to advance through to Round 4.

“There are still a lot of fun waves out there but the tide is definitely changing things up,” Slater said. “My plan was to go out and catch a lot of waves and I actually made a little priority mistake in there. Dan (Ross) is one of those underrated guys. He’s a big guy so I knew he wouldn’t be taking the smaller waves and I knew he was capable of getting big scores.”

With his Round 3 victory this afternoon, Slater moves one step closer to clinching ASP World Title No. 11, but the iconic Floridian remains characteristically nonchalant about the possibility.

“Counting Portugal, there are still three events left and a lot of points so it’s far from over,” Slater said. “Obviously another result here would long ways towards it but there’re still quite a few guys remaining in the hunt that are still in the event so we’ll see how it all pans out.”

John John Florence posted the highest heat total of the event this morning, a 19.53 out of a possible 20, to eliminate Adrian Buchan in Round 2 of competition.

“It’s unreal out there this morning,” Florence said. “It reminds me a lot of Backdoor and Pipe but with a sandy bottom. I was having so much fun. I just kept taking off on everything that came through.”

Florence will not face current ASP World No. 2 Owen Wright, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

“Owen (Wright) is good in pretty much any conditions,” Florence said. “We had a pretty close heat in Trestles and he beat me. I feel confident in these kinds of conditions though. So hopefully we have good waves for our heat.”

Florence was joined by fellow Hawaiian Fredrick Patacchia, who dispatched of current No. 5 on the ASP World Title rankings Jordy Smith, in Round 3 of competition.

Bede Durbidge punctuated the day’s affairs with the first Perfect 10 of the event for a monster forehand barrel to the adulation of the thousands on the beach.

RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.74 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 10.97
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10 def. Francisco Alves (BRA) 6.57
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.83 def. Justin Mujica (PRT) 8.64
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.77 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 15.23
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.90
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 19.53 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.97
Heat 7: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.20
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.04 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.87
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.97 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.93
Heat 10: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.63 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.27
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.43 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.76
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.73 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.30