The MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal hits the shores of Supertubos from Oct 16 - 28, with Italo Ferreira looking to defend his event win. In exciting news, the world's best women surfers return to the town of Peniche for the first since 2010. Back then it was the 17-year-old Carissa Moore who claimed victory.
For the men, the Brazilians will be looking to continue their dominance of the event. Last year Italo Ferreira flew higher in small conditions to take out Gabriel Medina, who was defending the title he had won in 2017. In 2015, Filipe Toledo and Ferreira also had an aerial duel in a high scoring and dramatic Final -- eventually won by Toledo.
For the women, Moore is the undoubted favorite following on from her win in the Roxy Pro France. That victory extended her lead on the Jeep Leaderboard with just two CT events remaining. Lakey Peterson looks to be pushing her the hardest, but she isn't one of those six competitors that surfed in this event way back in 2010. For Moore, another good showing in Portugal will push her even closer to a fourth World Title.
The event is held in the town of Peniche, located around 60-miles north of the capital Lisbon. A historic fishing port and naval fortress, in recent times tourism and specifically surfing have taken over as the town's growth industries. Huge surf stores, a myriad of surf schools and surf camps have been a recent addition to the cobbled streets and their old cafes, bars and seafood restaurants. The town itself is built on a rocky peninsula that offers two coastlines and endless surf breaks that handle every combination of wind and swell.
The most famous of theses waves, and the main site of the competition is Supertubos, situated on the southern side of the Peninsula. In the fall and winter months the powerful Atlantic northwest swells are directed onto the shallow sandbanks by an offshore canyon. Like La Graviere in France, the swells wedge into huge, open tubes (this place isn't named ironically) that break only meters from the shore. Huge crowds line the shore as the surfers hurl themselves, gladiator style, into the massive sand-riddled caverns.
The wave's quality had ensured iconic status in Europe before the Rip Curl Pro Search, a then globally mobile event, touched down in Peniche in 2009. That Finals Day featured epic six-to-eight foot waves with Mick Fanning taking the win. Supertubos' reputation was endorsed worldwide and the Rip Curl Pro Portugal has been a fixture on the CT calendar ever since.
Fanning won again in 2014 making him the only surfer to win in Portugal more than once. As mentioned, the trio of Medina, Toledo and Ferreira are currently best placed to join Fanning in those ranks as they each push for a World Title. However, former winners Kelly Slater (2010) and Julian Wilson (2012) are all capable of bringing their best, and beating the best at the famous Portugal beachbreak.
Watch the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal live on worldsurfleague.com and the WSL App, October 16 - 30.