BELGAS, Peniche/Portugal - The Rip Curl Pro Portugal completed Round 4 this afternoon in punchy two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the backup venue of Belgas.
Event No. 8 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal executed the three-man, non-elimination Round 4 this afternoon with surfers pushing the boundaries of high-performance surfing and the event setting up for a possible finish tomorrow.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, current ASP World No. 2, proved the form surfer of the day, netting a near-perfect 9.93 out of a possible 10 for an incredible aerial 360.
“That score didn’t change my approach much actually,” Smith said. “Jadson (Andre) and Owen (Wright) can pull big scores out at any moment. I knew I could ease up and needed a solid backup score.”
One of the remaining threats in the hunt for the 2010 ASP World Title, Smith remains nonchalant when discussing his plans for the end of the year.
“It would be nice to win but there’s more to life than just the title,” Smith said. “It’s an incredible opportunity for me to have for someone at my age and I’m just looking forward to the end of the year. I’m enjoying myself.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 1, dominated his Round 4 heat today, taking advantage of the non-elimination format.
“This round definitely allows you to relax and loosen up a bit for sure,” Slater said. “Of course, winning today takes the pressure off a little bit and let’s you bypass a round on the last day.”
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 27, current ASP World No. 6, opened up today’s action in incredible form this morning, dispatching of Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 22, and Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, en route to his advancement to the Quarterfinals.
“It’s really fun out there but kind of hard to find the ones that really line up,” Buchan said. “Matty (Wilkinson) and Michel (Bourez) were really getting frustrated out there, but I was just focusing on picking good waves and surfing them completely.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, current ASP World No. 20, kept the European contingent progressing through the day, taking out his Round 4 bout and moving to the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
“It’s all good,” Flores said. “As long as I win heats, I’m stoked. I haven’t had the best waves in the last few heats but today was pretty fun. The last few years, I’ve been trying add airs and fin throws to my repertoire and it hasn’t been working. I’ve moved back to what I do best and it’s been working really well for me. I’m stoked to be in the Quarterfinals and hope I can keep going.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 8am at the primary site of Supertubos to assess conditions for a possible 8:30am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be Michel Bourez (PYF), 24, up against Chris Davidson (AUS), 33, in Heat 1 of Round 5.
Magicseaweed, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for the swell to fill in for a potential finish tomorrow at Supertubos.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.77, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.03, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.50
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.60, Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.83, Chris Davidson (AUS) 6.08
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.07, Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.73, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.17
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.16, Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.57, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL MEN’S ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)