The Rip Curl Pro Search will culminate the European leg of the 2009 ASP World Tour in the wave abundant Portuguese region of Peniche, hosting the world’s best surfers from October 19 – 30, 2009.
Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search is poised to deliver high drama with projected sizable swells setting the scene for a possible ASP World Title showdown and several requalification campaigns.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, former ASP World Champion (2007) and current ASP World No. 1, has been on a rampage during the back half of the season, claiming back-to-back wins in California and France before taking the ASP ratings’ lead last week in Spain. If Fanning finishes higher than 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal, the Australian could claim the 2009 ASP World Title in Europe, contingent upon the finishes of other frontrunners.
“I’ve felt like I’ve been surfing well all year,” Fanning said. “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different at the moment. Earlier in the year, I was losing a lot of heats where the other guy was getting one really special wave, and that’s competition. Technically, I’m ahead on the ratings, but when you start ping the poor results, Joel (Parkinson) is still ahead of me. I don’t think about any of that. To win the world title, you have to win heats and I’m only focused on winning the next heat.”
Fanning, who claimed the inaugural Rip Curl Pro Search at Reunion Island (2005), is no stranger to performing varying venues each season and cites the Rip Curl Pro Search’s “floating” event license as one of the most exciting additions to the ASP World Tour.
“I think the Search concept is great and really adds a dynamic element to the tour,” Fanning said. “All the locations we go to are awesome and are truly Dream Tour venues when they’re on, but having the Search event change the location each year can really break up the monotony that sometimes exists on tour. It’s good to keep everyone on their toes.”
As one of the top seeds in the Rip Curl Pro Search, Fanning is guaranteed to face wildcards at some point in his event campaign.
“It’s hard to say who will really be dangerous out at Supertubes,” Fanning said. “Obviously guys that surf hollow beachbreaks are going to do well. In my opinion, I think Owen (Wright) is really going to do some damage. He’s already qualified and he surfs phenomenal in every condition. I think this event can really be his coming out party.”
Fanning will face 2009 ASP World Tour rookie Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, and one of the wildcards in Round 1 (traditional format) of the Rip Curl Pro Search.
Greg Emslie (ZAF), 32, current ASP World No. 31, is on the other end of the spectrum in terms of ratings’ challenges facing ASP World Tour surfers. On the requalification bubble heading into the final events of the season, Emslie, along with a bevy of others, is looking for some major results to ensure his spot amongst the world’s best in 2010.
“This whole leg has been super important for a lot of surfers and we’re all really close around the requalification bubble,” Emslie said. “This event is going to be our last chance before Pipe at the end of the year to solidify ourselves for next year. The swell charts are looking good so hopefully we get some waves.”
Emslie will battle Dane Reynolds (USA), 24, and Aritz Aranburu (EUK), 24, in Round 1 (traditional format) of the Rip Curl Pro Search.
Surfline, official foreers for the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Search, are calling for clean swell conditions on the opening day of the waiting period before tracking a sizeable swell indicating solid overhead waves for the primary venue of Supertubes as well as three-to-four times overhead for the backup locations of Balgas.
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH MEDIA CONFERENCE:
What: Official Media Conference - Rip Curl Pro Search
When: 2pm to 3.30pm / Sunday, October 18
Where: Peniche Cultural Building (near City Hall)
Who: Tiago Pires, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Adriano de Souza, Owen Wright (wildcard), Bruno Santos (wildcard), Stephanie Gilmore & Pauline Ado (wildcard)
Contacts: Dave Prodan (+61 400 455 228), Brooke Farris (+61 413 616 388) & Dane Sharp (+61 439 300 391 / dsharpripcurl.com.au)
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Damien Hobgood (USA), Tim Boal (FRA), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 2: Taylor Knox (USA), Heitor Alves (BRA), David Weare (ZAF)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Nathaniel Curran (USA)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS), Ben Dunn (AUS), Phillip MacDonald (AUS)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Patrick Gudaudkas (USA)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), TBA
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Dean Morrison (AUS), TBA
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA), Mick Campbell (AUS), TBA
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), TBA
Heat 11: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Chris Ward (USA), Michael Picon (FRA)
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Roy Powers (HAW), Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 14: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Josh Kerr (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 15: Dane Reynolds (USA), Greg Emslie (ZAF), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 16: Kai Otton (AUS), Dustin Barca (HAW), Drew Courtney (AUS)
RIP CURL WOMEN’S PRO SEARCH ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Rebecca Woods (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Bruna Schmitz (BRA)
Heat 2: Melanie Bartels (HAW), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW)
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 6: Paige Hareb (NZL), Coco Ho (HAW), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)