Adriano Souza enjoying the Portuguese waves at the Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal

With clean three-to-four foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves pulsing through the second backup venue of Belgas this morning, the Rip Curl Pro Search completed the remaining three heats of Round 2 before calling competition off for the day.

Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search had intentions of pushing through Round 3 today, but as conditions slowed following a hold after Round 2, event organizers opted to postpone further competition this morning. Despite only running three heats, the day’s action and drama remained high, as the final 16 surfers were decided.

Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22, current ASP World No. 3, kept his ASP World Title hopes alive this morning, eliminating good friend and compatriot Jihad Khodr (BRA), 25, in Round 2 of competition.

“They were tough conditions out there, Jihad is a great competitor so I was very careful of him and I am really happy to move through to the next round and keep my title hopes alive. I have never got through to Round 2 at a Rip Curl Pro Search event so I am really happy about that, hopefully I can keep it going. I am just having fun, it is the first time I have the chance to get the title but I am still young, so there is not really any pressure.”

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Jonathan Gonzalez

Jonathan Gonzalez (Tenerife, CNY), 29, has won the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 2-Star Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro after defeating fellow finalist Ruben Gonzalez (Cascais, PRT), 31, in clean three-to-four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves at the world famous right-hand pointbreak of El Confital.

Second-to-last event of this year’s ASP European WQS tour, the Movistar Ocean & Earth Pro lived-up to its reputation of exceptional waves and world class surf witnessing an excellent three-day swell that turned the event into a tube and vertical-maneuver festival.

Gonzalez, who was considered a favorite for the crown, made his way through five rounds before dominating the playful conditions of the final encounter, the Canarian athlete posting four of the event’s top ten scores throughout the competition.

With a series of detonating forehand top turns and utilizing his experience for an impeccable wave selection, Jonathan Gonzalez was unstoppable towards the 2009 edition victory posting a 9.00 point score for his opening ride before backing it up with a 7.17.

“I am so happy right now, it’s been so long since my last win in an ASP WQS event,” Gonzalez said. “I was aiming at a final here and to take the win is really nice, especially in front of the Canarian crowd who has been so supportive for years now. It wasn’t an easy finish with fewer good waves but I really waited patiently for the better ones and got them.”

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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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