Preview: Rip Curl Search Portugal

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Rip Curl Search Preview

Current #1 on the ratings, Mick Fanning. Photo: ASP/Getty Images

Current #1 on the ratings, Mick Fanning. Photo: ASP/Getty Images

The first two events of the 2009 European leg of the ASP World Tour haven’t quite panned out as the hollow, dumping beachbreak barrels we all expected. But what we have gotten is the exhilaration of a legitimate world title race.

Only two more events remain in the 2009 season and this year’s Rip Curl Search event will be playing the role of Pipeline Masters precursor—meaning things in Portugal are gonna get serious.

Hopefully Supertubes will be doing it's thing. Photo: Steindler

Hopefully Supertubes will be doing it's thing. Photo: Steindler

Mick Fanning has snatched the ratings lead from an abnormal three seventeenths in a row Joel Parkinson (well not really since the two throwaways haven’t been fully factored in). Adriano de Souza has claimed his first World Tour victory. World Tour veterans (Chris Ward, Timmy Reyes) and a few rookies (Nathaniel Curran, Dustin Barca) are on the bubble of falling off the Tour. So look for guys to be fighting and clawing their way through heats to stay on Tour.

The site of the 2009 Rip Curl Search event. Image courtesy Google Earth

The site of the 2009 Rip Curl Search event. Image courtesy Google Earth

As for the waves, the Rip Curl Search events always seem to score perfection (remember that Mexico event a few years back?). And it seems that Supertubos in Portugal might continue this streak for Rip Curl’s mobile event. That huge cold front that just shit snow and rain across the entire United States is now making it’s way across the Atlantic. By Tuesday things should start filling and should continue to increase in size throughout the week. Head to Magicseaweed.com to stay up on the forecast.

And make sure you’ve got your Fantasy Action Sports League picks all squared away for the Rip Curl Search.

You can watch the entire event live at live.ripcurl.com and stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for exclusive coverage from Portugal as the stage gets set for the 2009 ASP World Tour finale at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

And for all the World Title scenarios you can get, head here. Who do you see taking things in Portugal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Rip Curl Search

Chris Cote

Winner: Have I said that Dane is gonna win one of these before? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I say that every time and I hope I’m not secretly jinxing him—but I’ll say it again with no subtext—Dane Reynolds will win the Rip Curl Search comp.

Shocker: This will the best event, wave-wise, on Tour (except the Pipe Masters). Not really a shocker as the Rip Curl Search events always seem to be blessed with good waves.

Best Rookie Performance: At this point all the rookie’s must be getting a bit worried, being that this is the second to last event and there are only a handful of 6-star events in the near future. All of them better step up and rip—basically, they need to shit or get off the pot.

Casey Koteen

Winner: Taj. Why not? Isn’t it boring as hell to read these picks that all say either Slater, Parko, or Fanning? He made the quarters in Spain, which pretty much constitutes a roll for TB.

Shocker: Parko will get his fourth 17th in a row.

Best Rookie Performance: If Supertubes is hollow, I’m going with some Michel Bourez blow tails. His comp results haven’t lived up to all the hype, but he seems to be doing better in the second half of his rookie year.

Justin Cote

Winner: Dane Reynolds. He grew up in throaty beach breaks like Supertubes and has been on the verge of his first World Tour win all year. It all comes together in Portugal for Dane.

Shocker: Mick and Parko bow out early leaving the 2009 ASP World Title up for grabs going into the Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters.

Best Rookie Performance: Kekoa Bacalso has been the best rookie this year and there’s no reason for him to falter now. Dustin Barca surfs well in beach breaks too and needs a good result to make sure he’s on the Tour next year—look for him to do pretty well.

Carl Steindler

Winner: CJ Hobgood. Great tube rider. The lefts are better than the rights here and especially if it’s small CJ has a solid bag of tricks to get high scores at this beach break.

Shocker: Me last night blacking out and botching on some ASP stats this morning. For real though, Parko succumbing to Mick and losing early—blacking out all Mr. Smooth’s hopes of a world title.

Best Rookie Performance: Marlon Lipke. Feeling comfortable in his home country and only a couple of hours from where he grew up, look for Marlon to post his best result this year on tour.

Ryan Brower

Winner: Gotta stick with CJ Hobgood once again. A throaty left should do Mr. Consistent just fine.

Shocker: Adriano de Souza follows up his first World Tour victory with an early exit—wiping out any hopes of a world title for Brazil.

Best Rookie Performance: Michel Bourez and Kekoa Bacalso are no strangers to backside barrels. Whichever one puts up a bigger result is also gonna snag rookie of the year. Watch out for Barca too, he needs a solid result to stay on Tour and will be going balls to the wall.

Who will win the 2009 Rip Curl Search in Portugal?

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Women’s Rip Curl Search Event Preview

Really it’s been a tale of two surfers this year on the Women’s Tour—Stephanie Gilmore and Silvana Lima. Silvana has definitely got the hot hand, winning the last two events, but don’t think Steph Gilmore is gonna give up a world title that easily.

The women’s event will be getting underway on October 26th, and look for them to take advantage of the approaching swell. With only four events remaining for the women, this Portugal event will play pivotal in determining whether Steph Gilmore can make it three world titles in a row. And don’t forget about the new girls on Tour like Coco Ho, Paige Hareb, and Sally Fitzgibbons who will certainly be shaking things up.

You can watch the event live at live.ripcurl.com and stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for exclusive coverage.Who do you see winning the event?

Chris Cote

Winner: Steph Gilmore has been ripping and will no doubt win the event.

Shocker: I’d like to say there will be a rad nip slip in the event, but they’ll be wearing fullsuits, so nothing will be shocking.

Best Rookie Performance: Coco will make the final and give Steph a run for her money.

Casey Koteen

Winner: Sally Fitzgibbons gets the first win of her WCT career.

Shocker: Is Layne doing this event? It’d be a shocker if she did.

Best Rookie Performance: It’ll be an all-rookie final, with Sally versus Coco.

Justin Cote

Winner: Brazil’s Silvana Lima rules beach breaks. Look for her to add some intrigue into the Women’s World Title race.

Shocker: The girls will get better surf than the boys for the first time ever.

Best Rookie Performance: For selfish reasons we want to see lots and lots of Alana…

Carl Steindler

Winner: Steph Gilmore. Perfect balance of power and style to light up the beach break.

Shocker: Alana Blanchard will be forced to wear a full suit, therefore for the first time ever nobody will be taking notice of her bottom turns.

Best Rookie Performance: Coco Ho. She will tap into her Hawaiian roots and out perform all of the other ladies in the juicy tubes Supers will be dishing out. The bigger the better for Coco.

Ryan Brower

Winner: Steph Gilmore is gonna make up for the last two losses to Silvana by taking the win in Portugal.

Shocker: The women’s event will have some incredible surf.

Best Rookie Performance: Who doesn’t want to see Alana Blanchard do well? But I’m going with Paige Hareb on her fronthand slaying some Tour veterans.