Bede Durbidge

The final day of the Rip Curl Pro Search is underway with the Semifinals hitting the three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves on offer at Supertubos at 8:30am.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search experienced one of the most impressive days of competition yesterday with solid six-to-eight foot (2 – 3 metre) barrels for the world’s best to sink their teeth into. Today promises the same high drama to complete the competition this morning before the ASP Top 17 take to the water this afternoon.

“The surf has ped a bit this morning but we’ve got offshore winds and clean conditions and will be starting at 8:30am,” Damien Hardman, Rip Curl Pro Search Contest Director, said. “We’re expecting to finish the men’s competition this morning before heading into the women’s Round 1.”

Owen Wright (AUS), 19, wildcard in the Rip Curl Pro Search and current No. 3 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), has been in electrifying form all event before suffering a horrific wipeout yesterday and rupturing his ear drum. While the Australian wunderkind has been cautioned to stay out of the water for a week, he is still a possibility to compete against current ASP World No. 1, Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, in Semifinal 2.

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Mick Fanning

Solid six-to-eight foot (2 – 3 metre) barrels opened up Supertubos today as the Rip Curl Pro Search finally utilized its primary venue for some incendiary Round 3 and Quarterfinal action.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search had yet to run at Supertubos, but today’s death-defying conditions provided a dramatic forum for the world’s best surfers to showcase their talents, and played a pivotal role in the hunt for the 2009 ASP World Title.

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, current ASP World No. 2, found a sensational return to form today, besting Kai Otton (AUS), 29, in Round 3 before taking out a rampaging Bobby Martinez (USA), 27, in the Quarterfinals.

A standout leader throughout the opening half of the season, Parkinson stumbled with three consecutive Equal 17th place finishes in California, France and Spain before punctuating an already-stellar run in Portugal with today’s advancement to the Semifinals.

“I’m just living to keep my dream alive,” Parkinson said. “I don’t focus on the opponent. I still have two heats to go and two heats to win and then the job is done.”

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Billabong XXL

While surfers in the Northern Hemisphere await the arrival of El Niño-fueled big winter waves, there has been no shortage of massive swells around the world in the last six months.  Just last week, Shipstern Bluff -- a notoriously shallow wave off the southern tip of Tasmania, Australia -- produced some of the most spectacular rides of the year and triggered numerous entries into the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.  Spawned by a massive storm in the Southern Ocean, the huge swell was challenged by a group of big wave chargers including Aussies Marti Paradisis and Karl Atkins, who used jet powered watercraft to tow into the towering walls of water.

Visiting surfer James Hick -- who hails from the unlikely hometown of Jersey, England -- accomplished some of the day's most heart-stopping rides.

The devilish Tasmanian surf session also featured its share of spectacular wipeouts.  Despite the bone-jarring impacts, there were no serious injuries.

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