(Peniche, Portugal, Oct. 25, 2009) With clean three-to-four foot (11.5 metre) waves pulsing through the second backup venue of Belgas this morning, the Rip Curl Pro Search completed the remaining three heats of Round 2 before calling competition off for the day.
Event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search had intentions of pushing through Round 3 today, but as conditions slowed following a hold after Round 2, event organizers opted to postpone further competition this morning. Despite only running three heats, the day's action and drama remained high, as the final 16 surfers were decided.
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22, current ASP World No. 3, kept his ASP World Title hopes alive this morning, eliminating good friend and compatriot Jihad Khodr (BRA), 25, in Round 2 of competition.
"They were tough conditions out there, Jihad is a great competitor so I was very careful of him and I am really happy to move through to the next round and keep my title hopes alive. I have never got through to Round 2 at a Rip Curl Pro Search event so I am really happy about that, hopefully I can keep it going. I am just having fun, it is the first time I have the chance to get the title but I am still young, so there is not really any pressure."
Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 27, current ASP World No. 15, was the standout of the morning, netting a 15.17 out of a possible 20 in his elimination of Ben Dunn (AUS), 23, in the opening heat today's competition.
"It is a fun wave out there," Patacchia said. "We have over-head surf, it is the best surf we have had on the European leg by far." Patacchia will face former ASP World Champion (2007) and current ASP World No. 1, Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Search.
"I surfed against Mick (Fanning) in Mundaka as well," Patacchia said. "I know he is on his world title campaign and it is tough going against the guys when they are your friends because you want to see them win the title, but we are all here to win so I will give it my all and for sure try to beat him."
Tim Reyes (USA), 27, current ASP World No. 35, is in need of a major result in the last two events of the year to push himself into the requalification zone for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour. Feeling confident on his equipment, Reyes vaulted himself past current ASP World No. 11, Kieren Perrow (AUS), 32, in Round 2 of competition.
"My boards are feeling really good," Reyes said. "I have been on and off four boards because of all the different set ups here in Peniche. I am feeling pretty confident right now."
For the first time in history, the world's best female surfers will join the ASP Top 45 with the Rip Curl Women's Pro Search commencing their respective waiting period tomorrow and running through October 30, 2009.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, 2009 ASP Women's World Tour rookie and current ASP Women's World No. 10, is keen to get back into the contest singlet again and excited about the potential for another solid wave event on the ASP Women's World Tour.
"It's really exciting for the women to be included at the Rip Curl Pro Search," Fitzgibbons said. "With the event only being relatively new to the tour for the men, it seems a great opportunity to get our foot in the door and we hope to have it a part of our tour for years to come. Having the possibility of having bigger waves on offer this week will be a welcomed challenge. Supertubes and the surrounding breaks all offer great waves. I'm really looking forward to getting under way hopefully in the next few days."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 7:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start. When competition resumes, up first will be former ASP World Champion (2007), C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, battling Jordy Smith (ZAF), 21, in Heat 1 of Round 3.
Surfline, official forecasters for the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Search, are calling for a solid WNW swell to push through in the next 48 hours.
REMAINING RIP CURL PRO SEARCH ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 14: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.17 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 8.83
Heat 15: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.00 def. Jihad Khodr (BRA) 10.07
Heat 16: Tim Reyes (USA) 13.06 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.50
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 2: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 6: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)