Plenty of action going on in today"s surfing day at the Moche Rip Curl Pro in Peniche, as local Vasco Ribeiro surfed his way out of round 5 and into the quarter finals, where wildcard sensation Frederico Morais lost to Brett Simpson.
Moche Rip Curl heats up again
After two days of pitiful weather, Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal took to the waves once more for the remaining heats of round 5 and the first heads-to-heads of the quarter finals. Early in the morning, news was great for Portuguese surfer Vasco Ribeiro, who managed to surf his way out of round 5 by beating Michel Bourez with 10,43 points (3,93 and 6,50) against 9,77 (4,67 and 5,10).
These were nothing short of great news for the crowd at Peniche, because it meant two Portuguese surfers would be in the quarter finals of the world-class competition, but the young surfer from Estoril, who just a year ago became junior champion at Ericeira, is clearly at the top of his shape and would make yet another giant fall.
This time around it was French Jeremy Flores, WSL #09 who couldn"t keep up with the Portuguese surfer. Ribeiro won with 13,34 points (7,17 and 6,17) against Flores" 8,17 (4,67 and 3,5) in what he considered one of the worst weathers he has ever faced at Supertubos. The surfer is now set to face Italo Ferreira at the semi finals, after the Brazilian won over his countryman Gabriel Medina.
It was not the same story for "Kikas" Morais, who had a very close call with Brett Simspon. Frederico Morais managed a very good heat, and needed only 5,62 to beat Simspon. Unfortunately for the Portuguese surfer, the wave scored him only 5,53 for a total of 10,46 points against Simpson"s 10,54. Morais, who almost thought he had won the heat, went to talk to the judges in disagreement with the score.
Talking to the press, Morais cleared it up and all matters were settled, and while he disagreed with the score, he was proud of the performance he had put up. If you may recall, Morais eliminated Mick Fanning earlier in the competition, in what was certainly one of the greatest surprises of the whole event.
During the afternoon, the two heats of the semi finals will take place, opposing Filipe Toledo to Brett Simpson in Heat 1 and Vasco Ribeiro to Italo Ferreira in Heat 2. With poor weather expected this Saturday, it"s possible the event final will take place today, but it will depend on the wind not turning south as is - unfortunately - expected.
Inconstant weather has been the bane of this year"s edition of Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, with several lay days, including two this week alone.
The balance so far
For any Lourinhã, Peniche and Ericeira surf school, the results of the Portuguese athletes are worthy of celebration, but also the tremendous success and high competitive level of the event. For these schools, who have been working hard creating the future generations of Portuguese surfers, the success of the event means the crowning of their efforts as Portuguese surfers show themselves highly competitive at the international level.
The coastline from Ericeira to Lourinhã, and down to Cascais, is indeed one of the best surfing locations in the whole of Europe, having attracted plenty of world-class surfers, thus creating the synergies required to achieve real competitiveness. The performance of Portuguese and Portugal-based surfers also means the sport is at its peak popularity, and these schools should attract a lot of new and aspiring young surfers.
In terms of the WSL so far, Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal has certainly shuffled many surfers" chances at the championship. Toledo is now very close (around 3000 points) from Mick Fanning and has very good chances of actually taking the trophy home, placing him in a very attractive position going into Hawaii.