Marlon Lipke

The Rip Curl Pro Search got underway today in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) wedging righthanders at Molhe Leste, where the world’s best surfers carved, snapped and aired their way through the opening eight heats of Round 1.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search operated at its third backup site today – the primary venue of Supertubes being destroyed by large surf and surging tides two nights ago and the backup sites of Lagido and Belgas buffeted by onshore winds today. Opting to run the new competition format, featuring man-on-man elimination heats from the outset, today’s Round 1 action saw no shortage of upsets, with five of the eight higher-seeded surfers eliminated from competition.

Marlon Lipke (DEU), 25, 2009 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 44, scored a major victory today, defeating fellow rookie Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, utilizing an aggressive backhand approach to post the day’s highest heat total of a 14.66 out of a possible 20, and advance through to Round 2.

“I saw Michel (Bourez) free-surfing this morning and he surfed amazing,” Lipke said. “I thought to myself, ‘I just have to get the better waves’. Lucky, I did manage to get them. It feels so good, I forgot how good it feels to get through a heat as I haven’t got through one all year!”

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Jamie O'Brien

An international cast of surfers were literally on “Cloud 9” today with Typhoon Lupit whipping up epic 1.5-2 metre (6ft plus) waves for the opening day of the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational at Siargao Island in the Philippines.

Cloud 9 lived up to its hype, serving up a smorgasbord of hollow, tubing waves, as contest organisers opted to run round one heats before completing four sudden-death round two heats to close out the day.

Excellent scores were the norm as surfers from Australia, Bali, Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa and the Philippines pushed their tube riding skills to the limit, weaving deep through the bellies of cavernous waves in the tussle for important round three berths. 

Hawaiian hotshot Jamie O’Brien fired a warning shot to his fellow rivals by switch footing his way through a Cloud 9 keg to post the event’s first perfect 10-point ride.

The former pipeline master, who arrived at the out-of-the-way break only a few hours before his opening round heat, showed no signs of jetlag, netting a combined two-wave total of 17.80 to easily beat Australian Cahill Bell Warren (9.83 – Jan Juc, Victoria) and local Philippines surfer Rodolfo Alcala (3.10) in a one-sided affair.

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Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal

Round 1 of the Rip Curl Pro Search is set to commence this morning at 9:30am, with surfers doing battle in the wedging two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves on offer at the backup site of Molhe Leste.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search has endured three, consecutive lay days, and monstrous surf and storms that destroyed the event structure at the primary site of Supertubos, before reaching this morning’s clean conditions at Mohle Leste (in the northern corner of the Supertubos beach).

“We’ll be getting underway this morning at 9:30am at Molhe Leste,” Damien Hardman, Rip Curl Pro Search Contest Director, said. “We’re expecting conditions to improve throughout the day and are looking to run all of Round 1.”

The Rip Curl Pro Search event has elected to activate the new competition format, featuring elimination, man-on-man heats from the outset.

Up first this morning will be Tim Boal (FRA), 26, against Jihad Khodr (BRA), 25, in the opening heat of the Rip Curl Pro Search event.

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