Stab Magazine | Shockers abound! The title race is en route to Hawaii!
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Shockers abound! The title race is en route to Hawaii!

There ain’t nothing better than a world title race headed to the Pipeline and today was gifted from Sports Fan Heaven. Can you believe that in one day, world title frontrunners Gabriel Medina, Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson all lost! Okay, let’s back this up a bit and talk through the second last event of the […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There ain’t nothing better than a world title race headed to the Pipeline and today was gifted from Sports Fan Heaven. Can you believe that in one day, world title frontrunners Gabriel Medina, Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson all lost!

Okay, let’s back this up a bit and talk through the second last event of the 2014 world tour, the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal. Let’s first talk about Brett Simpson. The man has hardly won a heat all year. He’s silky and he first beat an in-form Nat Young. Nat hasn’t shown the form he’s had in previous years but on paper surfed a perfect heat. But, a last minute pit to Simpo got him the score. Just. Then he turns it around and takes out Mr Yellow Jersey Medina. Hubris ate up Medina when he left the water after his final wave before the time had run down, thinking he had the score for the win. He didn’t.

“I thought I had the score on my last wave, that’s why I came in, but it wasn’t enough,” said Gabs. “I’m pretty sad with this result, but I got happier when Kelly lost. I was ready to win the Title here, but now I’m focused on Hawaii. I’m happy that I’m still in the Title Race and I know it doesn’t depend the other title contenders, it depends on me. I don’t know yet what I need to do, but I will prepare and train and be ready.”

As we all know, Kelly is currently second without a win this year. Unheard of. No one saw Ari ‘Buru taking down the 11-time champ. Or did they? Aritz has been clinical around the tube at Supertubos, opting to surf the break when it’s been ugly and others have been surfing more protected corners. When Gabs lost, the vibe was that Kelly was to continue the run and into victory.

“It’s hard to pick the right waves out here,” said Kelly. “I knew Aritz was a tough guy to draw, he went out there yesterday when no one else went out and he got an eight-foot bomb and got barreled all the way across the beach. He is dangerous in barrels and I didn’t underestimate him at all. The wave he got was the wave of the heat and it would have been mine if I hadn’t chosen the way I did. This is probably one of my most frustrating Title Races ever because I keep feeling that I have the opportunity and each time I keep dropping the ball.”

And, ol John Boy Florence did what he was always going to do in a heaving and shifting beachie. He took wildcard Nic Von Rupp in round two before copping the day’s highest two-wave heat total (18.77) and the first perfect 10 of the event after he tail-dropped into a right and slid under the thick lip to get spat out further down the sand-bank.

“I’ve been nervous all day for some reason,” said John John. “These last couple of days I’ve been surfing a lot, the waves have been so much fun and yesterday was my birthday so we surfed all day long. That 10 was really cool. I was paddling into it telling myself to not fall on the drop, I got up and in the end it was a round and perfect wave and I was super stoked.”

John has been an unlikely world title candidate with a slower start to the year. But, he’s been the form surfer of the backend of the year. He finished third in Tahiti, Runner-Up at Trestles and claimed victory in France. The two favourites for this event now have to be Mick Fanning and John and both are thrilled by Medina and Slater’s falls today.

We all know how steely Mick Fanning is when it comes to world titles and the tail-end of the year: this is his one-wood. While he hasn’t surfed his round three heat yet (vs Alejo Muniz), he will almost certainly finish quarters or better.  “I’m pretty excited to compete in these conditions this morning,” said Mick. “I got down here and it was still so dark so I couldn’t see anything. I just threw my wetsuit on and went out and when I got out there I saw some crazy ones, it was pretty exciting. I had to come in before my heat, regroup and go back out there, and I’m stoked that I got a couple of good waves.”

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 2 Results (1st to Round 3, 2nd finishes equal 25th):
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.93 def. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.43
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 11.67 def. Nic Von Rupp (PRT) 9.66
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.80 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 5.27
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.83
Heat 5: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.87 def. Nat Young (USA) 13.43
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.74 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 2.67
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 9.17 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 1.70
Heat 8: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.23 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 7.83
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.33 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 5.87
Heat 10: Adam Melling (AUS) advances to Round 3, C.J. Hobgood (USA) injured
Heat 11: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.20 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.00
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 6.90

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results (1st to Round 4, 2nd finishes equal 13th):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.93
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.83 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.83
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.77 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.27
Heat 4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 11.07 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.67
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.83
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.06
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.30
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.27 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.07
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.10 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.50
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.20 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.00

Upcoming Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Match-Ups (1st to Round 4, 2nd finishes equal 13th):
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Match-Ups (1st to Quarterfinals, 2nd and 3rd to Round 5):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Aritz Aranburu (ESP), Josh Kerr (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS), TBD, TBD

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