Supertubos delivered major upsets and high drama as current Tour frontrunners Gabriel Medina (BRA) and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) were eliminated in Round 3 from the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal by Brett Simpson (USA) and Aritz Aranburu (ESP), respectively. The Brazilian's early exit ended his chance of claiming a historic World Championship in Portugal, effectively sending the Title race to the final event of the year in Hawaii.
Huntington Beach's Simpson took the surprise win over the Medina by less than a point, with a final score of 12.50 to Medina's 12.06. With just minutes remaining on the clock, Medina had the opportunity to overtake Simpson, but left the water after his final wave before time ran down.
â€œI thought I had the score on my last wave, that's why I came in, but it wasn't enough,â€ said Medina. â€œI'm pretty sad with this result, but I got happier when Kelly (Slater) lost. I was ready to win the Title here, but now I'm focused on Hawaii. I'm happy that I'm still in the Title Race and I know it doesn't depend the other Title contenders, it depends on me. I don't know yet what I need to do, but I will prepare and train and be ready.â€
Heat 7 of Round 3 witnessed another shocking defeat when Aranburu eliminated Slater, who will leave Portugal with his second 13th place finish of the year. Aranburu opened his account with confidence and led the heat from start to finish. While Slater couldn't capitalize on Medina's loss in Peniche, he remains in contention to claim his 12th World Title in Hawaii, and will look to regroup before moving into one of his favorite events on the WCT schedule.
â€œIt's hard to pick the right waves out here,â€ said Slater. â€œI knew Aritz (Aranburu) was a tough guy to draw, he went out there yesterday when no one else went out and he got an eight-foot bomb and got barreled all the way across the beach. He is dangerous in barrels and I didn't underestimate him at all. The wave he got was the wave of the heat and it would have been mine if I hadn't chosen the way I did. This is probably one of my most frustrating Title Races ever because I keep feeling that I have the opportunity and each time I keep dropping the ball.â€
In addition to Medina and Slater's eliminations, current ASP World No. 4 Joel Parkinson (AUS) was also knocked out of the competition in the third round at the hands Adam Melling (AUS), ending the 2012 ASP World Champion's run at a second Title this season. The race will now come down to the final event of the season, the Billabong Pipe Masters. Watch the remaining action in Portugal LIVE through October 23, 2014.