Owen Wright

The first 13 heats of Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Search were completed today in punchy three-to-four foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at the second backup site of Belgas. Despite the remoteness of the location, an estimated 20,000 fans showed up to compliment the hundreds of thousands online who watched the world’s best surfers do battle.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, today’s Rip Curl Pro Search played host to some of the most dramatic action of the season including the ascension of a young superstar, the defeat of an icon and a major shake-up in the 2009 ASP World Title race.

Owen Wright (AUS), 19, wildcard into the Rip Curl Pro Search, caused the upset of the event in eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion, Kelly Slater (USA), 37, in Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Search a repeat of his incredible feat from last April when Wright trumped the Floridian at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

The heat was an extremely tight affair with Slater opening up with solid scores on both his forehand and backhand while his younger opponent waited patiently. Wright’s progressive forehand arsenal was put to use in the punchy lefthanders, threading barrels and stomping air reverses to come within striking distance of the champ. Needing a solid score with time winding down, Wright pulled into a lengthy left barrel to score a 7.73 out of a possible 10 to take the lead and the heat win.

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Gavin Beschen

The Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational was put on hold in the Philippines today with diminishing conditions on offer for the unique, specialty tube riding event.

After two days of big, flawless barrels, contest organisers opted to call a lay day with epic conditions expected to hit the region into next week.

Typhoon Lupit, which generated 2.0-2.5m hollow, barrelling waves for the opening two days of the event before tracking WNW towards the northern region of the Philippines, has turned ENE and is now likely to produce epic conditions towards the back end of the seven day waiting period.

The opening three rounds of competition has already turned out multiple 10 point rides with some of the most insane conditions seen for an event this year.

12 heats remain until the 2009 Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational champion is crowned.

Remaining round four heats include – Ht4 Sam Page (Aus) vs Makua Rothman (Haw), Ht5 Shinpei Horiguchi (JPN) vs Carlito Nagolo (Phl), Ht6 Gavin Beschen (Haw) vs Dionisio Espejon (Phl), Ht 7 Joel Nantes (Aus) vs Agus Frimento (Phl), Ht8 Rodolfo Alcala (Phl) and Garrett Parkes (Aus).

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Antonio Marques

With the swell direction changing and the wave size settling in the five-to-six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) range, the Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro witnessed some of this year’s best surf conditions, El Confital turning into a tube generator for the second day of action.

With the completion of Rounds 2 and 3, competitors had to get through an action-packed day of exciting exchanges, the ASP WQS 2-Star event turning into a “Professionals Vs Locals” bout where ASP touring surfers were to take a clear advantage. From one perfect ride to many eight and nine point scores, the tube festival put the usual cheering crowds on fire.

Advancing through to the Man-on-man Quarterfinals with two heat wins today was inform Portuguese veteran Ruben Gonzalez (Cascais, PRT), 31, who opened his Day 3 campaign with the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event thus far, adding a solid 7.17 to wrap-up his show in style.

“I went outthere with a game plan, to look and wait for the better set waves and be patient,” Gonzalez said. “I knew there were a few perfect ones so I waited and managed to stand deep in that one wave, raced along the wall inside the barrel and made it. It was pretty intense.”

Ruben Gonzalez, who confirmed his supremacy later on in Round 3, made his intentions clear today and stands as the favorite for the title, along with nearby Tenerife Island resident Jonathan Gonzalez who followed the Portuguese closely in the high-performance scale today.

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