CJ Hobgood Leads Americans At Rip Curl Pro Search

Florida's CJ Hobgood leads the American charge at the Rip Curl Pro Search that is about to get underway in Portugal. Photo: ASP/Getty Images

Florida's CJ Hobgood leads the American charge at the Rip Curl Pro Search that is about to get underway in Portugal. Photo: ASP/Getty Images

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, October 18, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour is heading to Portugal for the ninth of 10 ASP Dream Tour events this season and C.J. Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 30, who is currently rated fourth in the world, is the top American entering the event.

Hobgood, who was the 2001 ASP World Champion, matched his best result of the season at the Billabong Pro Mundaka with a third place finish and is now looking to improve upon his rating entering the upcoming Rip Curl Search event. The Floridian goofy-footer is still technically in the race for the 2009 ASP World Title and the upcoming event in Portugal will play a crucial role in his hunt for this year’s title.

“I’m happy that I matched my best result this season, but was hoping for better,” Hobgood said. “I felt like I prepared well and surfed conditions similar to this most of the week, but in the end, I couldn’t edge into the Final.”

Kelly Slater (Coco Beach, FL), 37, is also still in contention for this year’s ASP World Title and the nine-time ASP World Champion battled through a recent knee injury en route to a third place finish at the Billabong Pro Mundaka. The upcoming Rip Curl Search event will also be critical for the Slater’s attempt at a 10th ASP World Title.

“The knee felt okay today,” Slater said. “It was sore walking downhill but felt okay out in the lineup. I guess I’m still in contention (for the ASP World Title), but we’ll see how it pans out.”

As the 2009 ASP World Tour season winds down, Santa Barbara standout Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, veteran campaigner Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, and Floridian tour twin Damien Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 30, are all sitting within the top 10 on the ratings, with Martinez in the No 8 position, Knox sitting in the No. 9 position and Hobgood currently occupying the No. 10 spot.

Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 24, who has had an exceptional year on the ASP World Tour, is currently rated 13th overall.

The upcoming Rip Curl Search Portugal event will also play a vital role in the remaining surfers’ quests for requalification for next year’s ASP World Tour. Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), 30, and Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, are sitting equal 35th on the prestigious series, while ASP World Tour rookie and last year’s ASP WQS winner Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 25, is rated 42 overall.

The Rip Curl Search holds a waiting period from October 19 through 28, 2009 and is expecting to start competition tomorrow.

For all of the LIVE event action log on to www.live.ripcurl.com

For additional ASP info log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org