In what is nothing short of history being made for Portuguese surf, Mick Fanning and Adriano de Souza are out of round 4 of the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, taking place at Peniche's surf shores. The surprise came at the hands of Portuguese surfers Frederico Morais and Vasco Ribeiro.
Up until the morning"s round, Fanning was in the rather enviable position of being the only competitor who could grab the championship right away, with a win at Peniche. The perspective was sunnier than the cloudy day greeting the athletes, and Mick had every reason to be in a good mood, considering the stellar year he"s had so far. Alas, it was not to be so.
While taking out the top-ranked WSL surfer is always worthy of a headline, this was not the first time Frederico Morais pulled such a stunt: in 2013, it was the turn of 11 times world champion Kelly Slatter to fall to the Portuguese surfer"s prowess. But Frederico is also making history in Portuguese surf circuits for being the first Portuguese surfer to reach the quarter finals of the competition, having also bested 2012's world champion, Joel Parkinson and Nat Young.
In one of those sports moments that makes it all worth while, Fanning and Morais exchanged warm greetings. The Portuguese is, after all, a very outspoken supporter of the Australian champion.
To the ample crowd at the beach, this turn of events certainly crowns the great progresses being made in Portuguese surf, after years of catching up. As for Fanning, he will have to play his cards very well at Pipeline.
Adriano de Souza could have been the one to benefit the most from Fanning"s bad luck, but the Brazilian would also be left out of the competition, after obtaining 11,80 points against Vasco Ribeiro's 14,36. Ribeiro, current junior champion, is attending Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal as a wildcard, like Morais, and has thus become part of one of the year"s greatest surprises.
While things have just gotten interesting at the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour, after what many took for a done deal, at the national level, the events are probably even more important. Portugal, which has some of the best surf spots in the world, has been undertaking serious efforts to attract world-class pros and events, but while Portuguese surfers have shown they can mix it up with the best, the sport had yet to reach such a milestone. All things accounted for, the sport has found not one, but two heroes.
All bets are now up for the upcoming Billabong Pipe Masters, taking place at the Banzai Pipeline, at Oahu, Hawaii, between December 08th and 20th. Having offered some of the best surf performances in the WSL Champion Tour since 2009, Supertubos in Peniche has certainly shuffled things up in its 2015 edition so far.