The waiting period for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal (Stop No. 10 on the Championship Tour) will kick off tomorrow at Supertubos and run through October 27.
Midafternoon today Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson, Frederico Morais, Ryan Callinan, Vasco Ribeiro and Miguel Blanco gathered for the scheduled press conference.
The Title race took center stage.
"After France, I'm just excited to be back in the Title conversation," said Julian Wilson. "And it's looking like we are going to be greeted with really good swell the next few weeks here. I just got to town and came straight to the press conference. I drove down from France with my family. I'm pretty tired right now but the rumors on the forecast got me pumped. Let's get this started."
After Filipe Toledo's early exit from the Quiksilver Pro France last week, and World No. 3 Julian Wilson's win - the now World No. 1 Gabriel Medina is the only contender able to clinch the Title in Portugal.
Wilson currently sits just 4,325 points behind World No.2 Filipe Toledo. And last year, Julian Wilson made it to the Final at the MEO Rip Curl Pro but lost out to Gabriel Medina. Toledo took his win in 2015, and Wilson won in 2012.
"It feels great to be back in Portugal," said Medina. The waves are really powerful here. My goal is to keep leading the rankings but I'm taking it easy this event. I know what I need to do. I'm focusing on myself. I've been in this position before. Hopefully it will all work out."
Filipe Toledo was in possession of the Jeep Leader Jersey for most of the season. An unexpected loss against wildcard Ryan Callinan in France last week knocked him into the No. 2 spot.
"Supertubos is such a dreamy beachbreak," said Toledo. "When conditions line up there's some perfect air sections. You can see all conditions and all types of waves in one day. At this point in my career, I learn from my losses. In the past I would be too involved and dwell on why it happened. This year, I've recognized that sometimes there's nothing you can do. I'm going to do my best here and see what happens."
Ryan Callinan is currently on a dream run. After winning the EDP Billabong Pro Ericeira, the Australian was awarded a replacement position for the Quiksilver Pro where he knocked out Toledo and made it to the Final against Julian Wilson. He's now been awarded another replacement position at this event and he doesn't look to be slowing down.
"I love it here," said Callinan. "There's so much culture and it's so different from home. It really allows me to switch off and stop thinking about surfing for a bit. Everything is really surreal right now."
Although Frederico Morais is currently sitting at No. 22 on the Jeep Leaderboard, the Portuguese surfer understands the shifty conditions on offer and has a good opportunity to gain some ground.
"I can't wait for this comp to start," said Morais. "I want to catch some barrels. With everyone cheering for me, hopefully I'll get a really good result. I get goosebumps walking down to the water here. It's the only place I feel that so I've been waiting all year for this.
The Men's World Title scenarios are as follows:
- Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo & Julian Wilson are the 3 World Title Contenders
- Going into Portugal ONLY Gabriel Medina can clinch the WT in Peniche/Belgas; Toledo & Wilson can clinch it in Hawaii pending on different combinations of results
- If Medina finishes 1st in Portugal, Toledo will need a 9th or better and Wilson a 3rd or better to take the World Title decision to Hawaii
- If Gabriel Medina finishes 2nd or worse in Portugal, World Title decision will go to Hawaii
John John Florence, Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli are out of the event due to their ongoing injuries. Joel Parkinson will be also out of the event due to medical reasons. The WSL replacements are Miguel Pupo, Wiggolly Dantas, Ryan Callinan and Vasco Ribeiro. Ribeiro is currently the highest ranked Portuguese surfer on the Qualifying Series.
The Rip Curl wildcard is Samuel Pupo and the Moche/MEO wildcard is Miguel Blanco.
Check back tomorrow at 7:45am WEST for the call. Watch live daily October 16 - 27 on Worldsurfleague.com, Facebook Live and the WSL app - FB login required for mobile viewing.