SUBERTUBOS, Peniche/Portugal (Wednesday, October 6, 2010) –The greatest assemblage of surfing talent in history has converged onto the quaint Portuguese township of Peniche for Stop No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, running from October 7 – 18, 2010.
Culminating the European leg of the season, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal comes at a crucial time for the 2010 ASP World Title race, with four surfers remaining in the hunt.
Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, reigning ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Portugal winner, scored his first victory of the year last week in France, vaulting himself to No. 3 on the 2010 ASP World Title Race rankings. Despite the recent momentum from Fanning, the prodigious natural-footer is contemplative when discussing his campaign through the remaining three events.
"In reality, Kelly (Slater) has a pretty solid lead at the moments and I'll need a few more Hail Marys here in the back three events," Fanning said. "He (Slater) has been on an incredible roll over the past three events and it will take something special to catch him. That said, I typically enjoy the back part of the year. It seems when everyone is getting a bit burned out, I thrive a little more. I feel more burned out at the start of the season."
Fanning will battle former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, Kelly Slater (USA), 38, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 21, and Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, for the 2010 ASP World Title.
When Rip Curl Pro Portugal competition commences, Fanning will face compatriot Daniel Ross (AUS), 27, and Trials Winner Marlon Lipke (DEU), 26, in Round 1 of competition.
Tiago Pires (PRT), 30, current ASP World No. 15, is the first surfer ever to qualify for the elite ASP World Tour and will represent Portugal amongst the world's best.
"It's an honor to be here representing my country," Pires said. "A few years ago, we lost the WT event in Portugal and that was very sad. Now it looks like this event is here to stay and it's a great thing. Last year, I didn't have a very good event here. I lost in my first heat. I guess I put some pressure on myself, but pressure is good. I'm having a good year this year and I hope I can come back and do my country proud."
Pires battles Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28, and Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, in the opening round of competition.
Running in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Portugal is the Rip Curl Women's Pro Portugal, featuring the ASP Top 17.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, is coming off a lengthy mid-year break and is excited about donning the competition singlet once again.
"I've had a great time mixing it up in the big cities, remote Indonesia, California and some quality time at home to freshen up my headspace," Gilmore said. "I think I’m simply just excited to compete in a World Tour event again. I was starting to miss this environment, and I'm looking forward to getting some solid swell over the next few days."
Gilmore faces Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 20, and Cannelle Bulard (FRA), 16, in the opening round of competition.
Event organizers will meet tomorrow at 8am to assess conditions for a possible 8:30 a.m. start.
Magicseaweed, the official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for massive swell for the opening days of the waiting period.
The Rip Curl Pro Portugal will be webcast LIVE via live.ripcurl.com.
For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN'S ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Taylor Knox (USA), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Dean Morrison (AUS)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Adam Melling (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 10: Damien Hobgood (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Bobby Martinez (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Andy Irons (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Nikita Robb (ZAF)
Heat 2:Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
Heat 3:Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bruna Schmitz (BRA), Cannelle Bulard (FRA)
Heat 4:Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), Justin Dupont (FRA)
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Nicola Atherton (AUS)
Heat 6:Coco Ho (HAW), Carissa Moore (HAW), Lee Ann Curren (FRA)