The cold wet Santa Cruz sky drips lightly over the contest scaffolding as heat 2 of round 3 begins to enter the water this morning. A lone red contest jersey remains draped in the competitors area. The heat's high seed, world number 2 Jordy Smith, is supposed to be wearing this jersey. Details are all hearsay at this point, as no official word has been handed down, but apparently Jordy hurt his ankle while playing dodgeball last night. The event commentators have mentioned that it looks like a torn ligament in his ankle, an injury that could mean the end of his season. According to Dr. internet, an injury such as this has a recovery time of 4-8 weeks. Roy Powers, fellow O'Neill rider, was supposed to be in his heat this morning at Steamer Lane. "Yeah he hurt himself last night, so he had to pull out and try to get better for the next event." The Rip Curl Search event begins on October 30 in Puerto Rico. Jordy is the only person with a reasonable shot at catching Slater, but if he were to miss the event, the title would be sealed. In fact, Smith needs to get a fifth or better in the upcoming Search event just to give himself a mathematical chance. Hopefully this is just a case of precaution on Jordy's part, and not a serious injury. We'll find out in a week or so in Puerto Rico..
GRINDTV NEWSWIRE via ASP - SUPERTUBOS, Peniche/Portugal (Thursday, October 14, 2010) - Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, has collected his 44th elite tour victory, besting current ASP World No. 2, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, to take out the Rip Curl Pro Portugal in glassy three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at Supertubos.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal played a vital role in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title and was privy to some of the most high-performance surfing the world has ever seen.
Although composed and relatively under-the-radar throughout the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Slater struck stealthily in the Final, locking in two solid backhand waves in the shifting conditions, and staving off a late charge from the young South African.
"It was actually a pretty slow Final with neither of us getting any waves of consequence," Slater said. "I was trying to stay busy but neither of us could get a solid wave. I actually nearly ended up reaching my wave maximum out there so I kind of had to slow down and try to wait for waves that mattered. Jordy (Smith) has all the talent in the world and he's capable of getting a score at any time. It wasn't over until the horn blew."
En route to an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title, the iconic Floridian moves one step closer to clinching, with a strong possibility of doing so in the upcoming event.
"It's obviously a very big deal for me," Slater said. "If it happens, it will be a major accomplishment for me in my life. I'm fortunate to have an amazing circle of friends around me: my girlfriend Kalani, Belly (Stephen Bell), Travis (Lee) and a bunch of others. Today's win puts me another step closer and we'll see what happens in Puerto Rico."
Smith fought valiantly throughout the 40-minute Final, posting the highest single-wave score of a 7.10 of a 10 for a backhand Superman air, but was unable to find a worthy backup score.
"I guess I felt a little out of rhythm in the Final," Smith said. "I was able to notch up one good one, but couldn't find a backup. That's the way it goes sometimes. I'm still happy with the result and the way my year has gone so I'm just staying positive and we'll see how we end up."
The last one remaining in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title, Smith acknowledges the tall feat that lies ahead and is philosophical when discussing the remainder of the season.
"I've had a blast here in Portugal," Smith said. "We've had some really fun waves. I was stoked to be in the Final with Kelly (Slater). I'm stoked to be in the race still with him. He's someone I've looked up to my whole life and it's an honor to be up there in the rankings next to him. I'm looking forward to the next event and hope we get some more fun wedges."
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 3, bowed out of Rip Curl Pro Portugal competition in Round 3 of competition, and with Slater's victory today, has also bowed out of the 2010 ASP World Title Race.
The 2010 ASP World Title Race will head towards Puerto Rico for the next stop on the ASP Dream Tour.
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, matched his best result of the year today, posting an Equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Unable to overtake a rampaging Smith in their Semifinal bout, Flores remained content with his result, moving from 20th to 15th on the ASP World Title Race rankings.
"It's been a good contest for me for sure," Flores said. "I've been readjusting my approach to surfing and focusing on the things that work best for me. I think it helped a lot here in Portugal and I'm stoked with moving up on the rankings. Hopefully I can get some more good results before the year is out."
Chris Davidson (AUS), 33, took it to Slater in the Semifinal bout, putting the champ on the ropes until Slater pulled out an incredible Alley-Oop 360 for a 9.33 in the dying minutes to take the heat. Davidson's Equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal marks his best result of the season, moving him from 17th to 13th on the ASP World Title Race rankings,
"What can you do when the King (Slater) pulls something like that?" Davidson said. "All I could do was salute him. It's been a good event for me, and I felt like I surfed pretty well against Kelly, but when he goes and pulls a 360 Alley-Oop on a nothing wave, it's hard to fight back. Hopefully someone can throw a wrench in the works and send the title race down to Pipeline."
Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be available via http://live.ripcurl.com
The next stop on the 2010 ASP World Tour will be the Rip Curl Pro Search in Puerto Rico from October 30 through November 10, 2010.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Kelly Slater (USA) 13.33
2 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.43
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.03 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.20
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.00 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.57
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Chris Davidson (AUS) 9.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.50
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.24 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.56
QF 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.17 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 13.67
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.70 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.50
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Chris Davidson (AUS) 11.84 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.94
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.10 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.83
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.40 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 9.73
Heat 4: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.00 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.16
ASP WORLD TITLE RACE TOP 5 (After Rip Curl Pro Portugal):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 58,000 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 48,750 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 41,250 pts
4. Taj Burrow (AUS) 34,000 pts
5. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 33,750 pts
The remaining competitors in the Rip Curl Pro Portugal were greeted today with some lumpy but contestable conditions at the backup venue of Belgas for round 4. With 3 man heats and no elimination in this round, the world's best have the breathing room to really throw some fins. This fact was well illustrated in heat 4, which saw world number 2 Jordy Smith against the 2 rookie of the year candidates, Owen Wright and Jadson Andre. At 22, Jordy is the eldest of the bunch. The heat itself, which you can view below, looks like a bonus section from Modern Collective. The acrobatics displayed by these young guys is astonishing.
The Rip Curl Pro Portugal got back underway again today, running round 3 at the backup venue of Belgas. Gutless mushburgers were the only dish on the menu for the day, but with a dismal forecast looming, the green light was given. For those of us hoping for a late season Fanning comeback (like last year) to take the title race to Pipeline, those hopes are all but lost.
The first heat of the day saw world number 4 Taj Burrow lose a close heat to rookie Matt Wilkinson, essentially taking Taj out of the race. Disappointing for Taj as he had a stellar beginning to the season, winning on the gold coast, and making the semis at bells.
Heat 6 saw Kelly Slater take a convincing victory over Gabe Kling, securing his spot in round 4 and extending his ratings lead.
Mick Fanning got front row seats to Slater's heat as he was in the very next one against Travis Logie, knowing that Kelly had advanced, and his title hopes hinged on this heat. In typical Fanning fashion, Mick got off to a quick start and had Travis comboed at the halfway mark of the heat, but then Logie was able to catch a series of zippery righthanders for a pair of 8 range scores, leaving mick needing a 7.5 with under 2 minutes left. A wave came, Mick surfed it well, 7.43. And POOF just like that, .11 points virtually ends Mick's title hopes. In his post heat interview Mick concedes that its all but kelly's title at this point.
Jordy Smith is now the only man truly standing in Kelly Slater's way, and with a heat win over Dean Morrison in the last heat of the day, you can bet that Kelly's sights are set on the tall South African. With a 7,250 gap between them, Jordy is going to need Slater to stumble in the last 3 events of the year if he wants the chance to catch up.
Round 4 matchups:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson, Michel Bourez, Adrian Buchan
Heat 2: Damo Hobgood, Chris Davidson, Kelly Slater
Heat 3: Travis Logie, Jeremy Flores, Pat Gudauskas
Heat 4: Owen Wright, Jadson Andre, Jordy Smith
Next call is tomorrow morning at 8 am Portugal time, midnight west coast time.
Check it out live here.
With the Rip Curl Pro Portugal set to get under way in a matter of hours, why not see what some of the pros have to say about the building excitement.. Judging by their comments I'd day everyone is prett giddy about the massive swell on the horizon..
Jordy Smith: were do we surf in 2 days when the waves are going to be 20 feet?
Jeremy Flores: Breaking boards today ! YEP
and, by far, the best and most insightful tweet goes to....
Matt Wilkinson: penish haha yes im in portugal and the town sounds like sean connery saying penis