Will Keanu Asing Win Portugal?
Probably not. Here are some totally biased picks.
Who would’ve thought Keanu Asing would win France? Not me, though I did say someone random would do well. But, first place? That never crossed my mind. The good thing is, Gabs and John John both placed and Portugal is geared up to be the year’s most important. Because if Gabs loses early and John extends his lead, Gabriel will be shit out of luck for Pipe. Although he’s incredible out there, the chances of John finishing lower than the quarters is highly unlikely. The waves don’t look amazing for Portugal; there’s a bit of swell around but winds look unfavourable. This could make for a few upsets and the possibility for either of them to get the jump on the other. There will be a few random at results this event again. But, only one thing’s for certain: It’s going to be a shit show…
Shoulder to head high, bad winds, who’s going to beat this guy? In last year’s final he did some of the best surfing I’ve ever seen in similar conditions. His ability to create something out of nothing is incredible and what he’s even better at is stomping big airs on bigger sections. A lot of guys can boost, but not on the dumpy close outs of Portugal. Look for Filipe to get his first W of the season.
Five 13ths in a row. I never thought Italo would be a guy that comes out steaming and then can’t back it up the next year. He hasn’t been able to put a good heat together the last six or so events, but it has to happen soon. Last year Italo looked flawless in Portugal, and the short, unpredictable waves suit his surfing. He’s compact and has a unique ability to fit two big moves in a short distance, something I think really helps in Portugal. Look for Italo to climb a few steps on the ladder here.
He’s got the best big match temperament on tour. Gabs came up short of an incredible comeback last season, and he won’t make the same mistakes again. He needs to finish third or better to catch up to John because right now he’s dropping a ninth and John’s dropping a fifth. That difference in points between a ninth and a third is 2500, which will put him in within striking distance of John John at Pipe. Obviously, this is all depending on John not bettering his fifth place worst finish.
I keep putting Julian in my Fantasy Surf team because I feel like something has to click eventually. He’s too good to keep failing. Anyway, I’ve used up about all my descriptions on why he’s going to finally crack it but it’s only a matter of time, and I hope he can catch a bit of fire in the back half of the year…
Adriano de Souza
Adriano is currently 10th, despite not having the greatest year. A lot of World Champs struggle the following year, and it’s hard to think of a good heat he’s had so far. What he has been able to do is fight his way through a few rounds and get a couple of decent results. I think Adriano will have some luck in Portugal, whether he puts up a memorable performance or not. He has won the event before in the best possible conditions. Can he do it in more challenging conditions? Probably not. But he’ll get a good result.
Best Rookie Result: Kanoa Igarashi
Kanoa has had a good year for a rookie. Unlike Jordy, Dane, Gabs and the rest of the freaks that qualified at such a young age Kanoa is a lot smaller and weaker than they were. I thought he’d get blown apart by the big guys, but he’s impressed me in almost every event. The kid surfs smart. He’s also incredible in shifty waves and now that the pressure is off because he’s requalified through the QS (not guaranteed, but he will), I think we’ll see a bit more relaxed approach from Kanoa. I’m calling a quarterfinal finish….
Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) Miguel Pupo (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Miguel Blanco (PRT)
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 10: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 12: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW)
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