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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Garrett Parkes

Australian surfer Garrett Parkes (Byron Bay, NSW, Aus) has taken out the Billabong Cloud 9 Invitational in the Philippines today, beating Hawaiian Makua Rothman in a man-on-man final.

Cloud 9 didn’t quite turn on the epic conditions seen for the opening rounds of the unique, specialty event, with finalists having to mix innovative, new-school manoeuvres with aerials, on-rail carves and barrel rides in rising 3-4ft (1-1.5 metre) waves.

Parkes, who stitched up the Gold Coast’s Joel Nantes (Coolangatta) in the quarters before taking down local Carlito Nogalo in the semis, made the most of the smaller conditions to  bag two mid-range scores – a 5.50 and a 4.67- in the extended 35 minute final.

“It wasn’t exactly the real cloud 9, not many barrels,” said Parkes, who collected USD $7,500 for the win.

“But I made do with what I had. I managed to get through a few heats this morning and just keep it going through to the final. I’m stoked.”

Parkes, who was a standout throughout the entire event, said he wasn’t fazed entering the final after Rothman beat event favourite and former pipeline master Jamie O’Brien  in semi one.

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