Adrian Buchan: top scorer

Supertubos turned on today with offshore three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) barrels for the world’s best surfers to sink their fangs into as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal completed Rounds 1 and 2 of competition.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal bore witness to the ASP Top 34 redefining progressive beachbreak surfing with a veritable cornucopia of barrels, power turns and aerials.

Adrian Buchan (AUS), 27, current ASP World No. 6, proved the form surfer of the day, netting the event’s high heat total of an 18.00 out of a possible 20 for a series of deep forehand barrels and powerful turns.

“The conditions are pretty hit and miss today with some heats having lulls and others not,” Buchan said. “We had really fun waves during that heat. It was really consistent and I was able to find a rhythm pretty quick. My equipment feels really good at the moment and I’m stoked to come back after a disappointing Round 1 heat yesterday with a strong performance today.”

Coming off an Equal 3rd last week in France, Buchan is enjoying a solid momentum throughout the European leg and will look to capitalize through the remainder of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

“Definitely coming off of a good result in France gives me confidence here,” Buchan said. “I’m having one of the better years I’ve had on tour and I’m looking to move from strength to strength. Everything is working really well for me at the moment and I love the waves here in Peniche. I would love to come away with a win.”

Buchan will take on rookie Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, survived his Round 2 bout against wildcard Bruno Santos (BRA), 27, this morning, dominating the shifting peaks to the raucous cheers of the thousands in attendance.

“The Portuguese fans are just so passionate,” Slater said. “Tiago (Pires) is a national treasure here and every time he paddles out, the whole beach erupts. It’s good to see. They love their surfing and that always makes us excited to perform.”

Currently hunting down an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title, Slater maintains a focused approach to the job at hand.

“I just have to replicate what I’ve done so far this season,” Slater said. “At the moment, I’m not in a position where I can afford to get throwaway results. If I want to improve my position at the moment, I have to do better than 9th. So it’s still super close.”

Slater faces Gabe Kling (USA), 30, in Round 3 of competition.

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 2, was another top seed to battle a wildcard today, besting Marlon Lipke (DEU), 26, with a comprehensive forehand attack on the righthanders.

“It was pretty challenging in my heat,” Smith said. “It was hard to pick out the good ones and I kept finding myself out of position. Marlon (Lipke) obviously knows this wave really well, and at this level, everyone is dangerous. I was fortunate to grab a couple of mid-range scores and he was unable to get a decent second score.”

“I’m just having fun and learning as I go,” Smith said. “I’m still young and I have a ways to go before I’m at the same level as Kelly (Slater) and Mick (Fanning). The race (ASP World Title) isn’t too far apart at the moment, but it’s not too close either.”

Smith draws Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, in his upcoming Rip Curl Pro Portugal match.

Brett Simpson (USA), 25, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie struck a brutal blow to Portuguese surfing enthusiasts in the final heat of the day, eliminating sole representative Tiago Pires (PRT), 30, from competition with an impressive display of hi-fi surfing.

“The conditions have changed so much since this morning,” Simpson said. “We’ve gone from sucking barrels to really high-performance runners this afternoon. It was really fun but you have to be on your game and adapt pretty quick. Tiago (Pires) is so dangerous in any conditions and he obviously had a lot of support on the beach. It’s a bummer to knock him out early, but I’m happy to move through to Round 3.”

Simpson will take on fellow rookie Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, when competition resumes.

Travis Logie (ZAF), 31, current ASP World No. 34, caused a major upset this morning, eliminating current ASP World No. 5, Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, in Round 2 of competition. The South African goofy-footer adopted a frenzied approach, collecting a bevy of forehand barrel-to-turn combinations, leaving his Californian opponent behind.

“I’ve had really bad luck this season so far in terms of waves in my heat so it feels really good to get some good waves finally,” Logie said. “You can never discount Dane (Reynolds) in a heat. I had him on the ropes and gave him a rubbish wave and he turned it into something. It’s really good for my confidence and I definitely need to get some results here in the back three events of the year. It’s really fun out there.”

Logie will battle reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.36, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.10, Luke Stedman (AUS) 13.27
Heat 11: Bobby Martinez (USA) 16.70, Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.94, Kai Otton (AUS) 6.93
Heat 12: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.27, Andy Irons (HAW) 14.07, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.76

Heat 1:Kelly Slater (USA) 14.17 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 7.30
Heat 2:Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.80 def. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.63
Heat 3:Travis Logie (ZAF) 16.06 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 8.50
Heat 4:Dean Morrison (AUS) 13.67 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.43
Heat 5:Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.00 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 6.24
Heat 6:C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.16 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 9.03
Heat 7:Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.93 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 8.23
Heat 8:Kai Otton (AUS) 10.83 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 10.40
Heat 9:Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.17 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.37
Heat 10:Daniel Ross (AUS) 12.03 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.17
Heat 11:Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.23 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 11.94
Heat 12:Brett Simpson (AUS) 14.27 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.17

Heat 1:Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 2:Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 3:Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 4:Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 5:Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 6:Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 7:Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 8:Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 9:C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10:Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 11:Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 12:Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Dean Morrison (AUS)

Malibu: protected forever | Photo: Bill Parr

Malibu kicked off with a moving sunrise blessing led by Chumash leader Mati Waya and a paddle-out ceremony by about a hundred surfers on their boards, Malibu’s legendary Surfrider Beach was enshrined on Saturday as the first World Surfing Reserve.

The designation establishes and celebrates the unique value of the Malibu coastal environment and aims to enhance efforts to maintain the pristine nature of the area for future generations.

As the wording of a resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Los Angeles states, in part, Malibu was chosen for the honor because of the stellar quality of its waves, the seminal role it played in the birth of modern surf culture, the rich biological characteristics of its surrounding area, and the strong community support of the area.

Already the world’s most famous surfing beach, the WSR designation cements Malibu’s significance for what has become a global tribe of millions of surfers and hundreds of millions of ocean lovers.

The name Malibu is an anglicized version of the original Chumash village, which occupied the area for hundreds or thousands of years prior to European contact in the 16th century. The Chumash were an ocean-oriented people, and there has been speculation that they may have ridden the waves here in their small tomol fishing canoes.

A local Chumash leader and founder of the Wishtoyo Foundation, Mati Waiya’s traditional sunrise ceremony honored and blessed the day’s activities. The subsequent paddle-out and surfer circle in the water at First Point was led by the Local Stewardship Council of the new Malibu World Surfing Reserve.

World Surfing Reserves is a program founded by Save The Waves Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting surfing areas throughout the world. The program has been substantially influenced by National Surfing Reserves Australia, which has already dedicated eleven beaches as National Surfing Reserves. The WSR initiative is also recognized and supported by the International Surfing Association, which is recognized in turn by the International Olympic Committee.

The Malibu World Surfing Reserve is endorsed by the California Coastal Commission, Los Angeles County, and the City of Malibu, as well as local nonprofits – Surfrider Foundation West LA/Malibu, Santa Monica Baykeeper, and Heal the Bay, among others.

Saturday’s commemoration also featured the installation of a bronze sculpture, titled “Unknown Surfer, Unknown Artist, Unknown Donor” – which beautifully represents the spirit of the event, which Malibu Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner characterized as, “not about any individual or commercial interest. This is about the wave, the place, and the community of Malibu.”

It is anticipated that Malibu is the first of what will become a global network of World Surfing Reserves. Other nominees include Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Manly Beach in Australia, Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, Fernando de Noronha in Brazil, and dozens more.

Matt Wilkinson: brand new star

The world’s best surfers battled shifting four-to-six foot (2 metre) rights and lefts at Supertubos as the Rip Curl Pro Portugal commenced competition with the opening nine heats of Round 1.

Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal got underway this afternoon in front of capacity crowds numbering over 40,000 on the beach and the hundreds of thousands online.

Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, punctuated the day’s action, posting the highest heat total of the event, a 16.57 out of a possible 20, in the final heat of the day.

“It’s definitely not a walk in the park out there,” Payne said. “It’s hard work out there. I got both of my good scores on my backhand, I think it was easier to jam in two turns on my backhand. Stoked to get through though. I’m loving Portugal. The people are really nice and I hope it cleans up tomorrow.”

Tom Whitaker (AUS), 31, posted the highest single-wave score of the day, a 9.50 out of a possible 10, for two monstrous backhand bashes on a lumpy lefthander. The score, combined with an earlier 5.17, was enough to relegate former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, Kelly Slater (USA), 38, and Bruno Santos (BRA), 27, to Round 2 of competition.

“Any kind of lip you could see you had to hit it,” Whitaker said. “That one had a pretty good line on it and I was lucky that it pushed me out in front at the end. Any time you draw Kelly (Slater), you have to put up big numbers and he’s capable of getting 7s or 8s at any moment in any conditions.”

Currently serving as the replacement surfer for an injured Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, Whitaker’s motivation may differ from those hunting the ASP World Title, but the stylish natural-footer remains hungry for results amongst the world’s elite.

“I want to win an event before I hang up my competitive career,” Whitaker said. “I feel like my surfing is still at this level and I’m looking forward to a few more opportunities here. I have to give a shout out to Joel Parkinson, who I heard had his first surf the other day. I hope he rebounds quickly and I look forward to sharing some waves with him in Hawaii.”

Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Portugal Champion, survived today’s trying conditions, favoring his backhand to advance directly through to Round 3.

“It’s a big washing machine,” Fanning said. “I don’t think it matters what you ride out there, you just have to hang on. The Portuguese people turn out in the numbers and they’re really cool. They’re just stoked on surfing and that’s what we’re excited about.”

Following a win at the last event in France, Fanning is currently ranked No. 3 on the ASP World Title Race rankings, well within striking distance of the leader position in the hunt for the 2010 crown.

“Kelly Slater has been on such a roll,” Fanning said. “I pretty much just need to win events and that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not concerned with what he’s doing at the moment. I’m focusing on putting wins on my scorecard.”

Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, current ASP World No. 20, lead the Round 1 European charge today at Supertubos, threading a challenging barrel in the dying moments of the heat to edge out Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, and Dean Morrison (AUS), 29.

“It’s very difficult out there this morning,” Flores said. “It’s similar to Round 1 in France last week. It’s big and unorganized and hard to line up. I was able to find a tricky little barrel there at the end so I’m stoked. It’s hard though.”

Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, 2010 ASP World Tour rookie and current ASP World No. 27, scored a major upset today, relegating Portuguese superstar Tiago Pires (PRT), 30, and compatriot Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28, to Round 2 with some inspired backhand surfing.

“It was a super tough heat,” Wilkinson said. “Having Tiago in a heat over here was always going to be tough. There are tens of thousands of people cheering for him as we’re running down to the water and I just felt a little bit obscure. I love the crowd here though. They’re a super passionate crew and they want to see their local boy do well.”

Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 9.60, Luke Munro (AUS) 7.43, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 4.23
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.10, Dane Reynolds (USA) 8.00, Dean Morrison (AUS) 5.50
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.17, Travis Logie (ZAF) 4.33, Brett Simpson (USA) 3.73
Heat 4: Gabe Kling (USA) 14.94, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.07, Adam Melling (AUS) 6.70
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.67, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 12.10, Daniel Ross (AUS) 8.73
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 14.67, Kelly Slater (USA)13.10, Bruno Santos (BRA) 3.03
Heat 7: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.66, Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.00, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.30
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.40, Roy Powers (HAW) 6.14, Chris Davidson (AUS) 5.26
Heat 9: Dusty Payne (HAW) 16.57C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.20, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.57

Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Bobby Martinez (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Andy Irons (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)