- WSL / Damien Poullenot
- WSL / Damien Poullenot

After Julian Wilson bagged top honors in France last Friday and officially entered the 2018 World Title race, we immediately rang up Nic von Rupp.

Nic is one of Portuguese surfing's biggest names, a Big Wave World Tour competitor and longtime Supertubes stalwart. Who better to get an insider's perspective on the upcoming MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal than him?

Nic explained why Peniche is home to one of the best beachbreaks in the world, how the forecast is stacking up for next week, who he considers the most dangerous names in the draw, and why Portuguese fans rule.

Nic Von Rupp (PRT) Placed 1st in Heat 4 of Round Two at Santa Cruz Pro 2017 Nic Von Rupp (PRT), at the 2017 Santa Cruz Pro in Praia da Fisica, Santa Cruz, Portugal. - WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

The Venue:
This time of year, the Atlantic hurricane season, we sometimes get a lot of south winds and rain, which is bad for Supertubes. It's been that way for the last two weeks. But it seems like it's shifting. Sunday we're getting a massive, massive swell. Ten-meter waves are headed our way. Unfortunately, the storm is a little too close to the coast and the winds are looking super strong. Gale force during the peak of the swell.

But Supertubes is actually a pretty easy wave to score. The north winds are our trade winds, so it's usually offshore in the afternoons. It's just a matter of swell. Supertubes is a little bit sheltered, so you do need some big swells to get in there, but you also need the storms to stay away from the coast.

Aside from that, the sandbars are reliable - the swell comes out of really deep water, and the canyon offshore helps refract swells and break them up. Which gives the wave a really nice shape. It's one of the best beachbbreaks in the world for sure.

2017 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal: Final
Julian Wilson vs. Gabriel Medina

The Forecast:
Next week looks good. The forecast is calling for more north wind, which is ideal for Supertubes. There should be some really good windows coming up for the comp. West northwest is the ideal swell direction. Not too big of a period - maybe three meters, with a 15-second period. And I'm seeing some of that on the maps right now.

With these hurricanes it's hard to predict. Its been changing a lot. But there's plenty of swell for the first part of the waiting period. Tuesday looks like solid Supertubes. The winds are a notch off, but that could change. It could be firing.

On Wednesday the swell drops off some, but it still looks good, and then Thursday picks up and looks all-time again. Really windy, but offshore.

Frederico Morais (PRT) placed 2nd in Heat 4 of Round Five at Meo Rip Curl Pro 2017, Peniche, Portugal Frederico Morais feeling right at home in Peniche. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

The Contenders:
The title contenders are the ones to watch here. Gabriel Medina is really good in the barrel, really good in the air, and the north wind blows straight into the left. Perfect for airs. So he'll be super dangerous. And then Julian Wilson, obviously. He's really good at Supertubes. He had a heat out there a couple years ago where he almost got two 10's. And he just won in France.

Aside from those two, watch out for Frederico Morais. Us Portuguese are gonna be rooting hard for him. He knows the wave really well and spends all his winters over here. And local knowledge is definitely an advantage at Supertubes. Plus, he's rock solid in his mind. Nothing gets to him - he's beaten Kelly [Slater] out there and had some other great results over the years.

Lastly, watch out for Ian Gouveia. He's an amazing barrel rider, and there's gonna be plenty of tubes for this event.

Crowd during Round Four at Meo Rip Curl Pro 2017, Peniche, Portugal Surfing's on the rise and Portugal, and when the contest is on Lisbon comes out in force. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

The Portuguese Surf Fans:
People in Portugal love surfing. We're the only capital in Europe surrounded by the sea. Everyone in Lisbon is aware of the surf and beach culture, and so everyone is super hyped on being at the beach and in the ocean. We're very patriotic.

It's just a really great country for surfing. We always knew that, but we never dared to say it because it used to seem arrogant to say that. But we're growing. Our surfing community is getting bigger, we're getting better at surfing, and we're representing our country better each day.

We have waves to build world champions, so I feel like Portugal is a surfing hub for the future. It's one of the few places in the world you can still surf a fun beachbreak with nobody around. There's plenty of coastline. Obviously, the best waves are packed these days, especially during the summer, but you can consistently surf alone up and down the coast.

Nic Von Rupp (PRT) .BWT Nazare Challenge. Nic Von Rupp on a Portuguese bomb during the 2016 Big Wave season at Nazaré. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

The town of Peniche:
As a surf town, Peniche is amazing. There's Supertubes on the north wind, but if it's south wind, you can head to the north side of town and it's offshore up there. There's always a little corner you can surf.

And that area is a great back-up for the CT in case Supertubes is blown out or there's not enough swell. It's truly surf heaven. And really, that goes for Portugal in general. There's Ericeira, Nazare, Praia Grande, Guincho, there's so many zones with points, reefs and beaches. Every coastal town in Portugal has its own little gems.

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