The 2012 Rip Curl Pro, Portugal

The Rip Curl Pro, Portugal, at Peniche, kicks out the jams in two days' time. Last year's event was the kind that had every pro on tour making "best ever" calls. Which is just fine. But most interesting about Portugal this year is the current title rankings heading in, and what impact this event will have on the race.

Currently, Joel Parkinson's in the hot seat. And, y'think he's looking to trash the bridesmaid dress at this event? "Mick had the number one position for most of the season but it's so tight at the top this year that anything can happen from event to event," says Joel. "I've had three runner-up finishes this year from Brazil, Tahiti and Trestles so I'm focused on a win in Portugal."

Kelly Slater, who was sitting at fourth prior to France, has bumped himself into second with the Hossegor win. His throwaways aren't ideal (especially after no-showing in Brazil), so he'll be gunning. "When you start working the numbers a little bit, I got that 500 pointer and a 13th, two bad results, already," says Kelly. "Parko is sitting on a ninth and a fifth. If I couldn't get past Parko in France, it would have put a lot of pressure on me, but this win has now put the pressure back on Mick because Parko, John John and I did well at the first European leg stop."

Above is the trailer for this year's Rip Curl Pro, in case you need any refreshing about how good last year was. And below are the current rankings, as well as five waves that mattered, as compiled by Rip Curl.

CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (After Quiksilver Pro France):
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 46,200 pts
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 45,450 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 43,000
4. John John Florence (HAW) 39,150 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 31,900 pts