The MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal ’19: vibes, miracles and bummers

While all the action is on hold let’s dive into what the WSL 10th stop has offered so far- outstanding performances, drama and polemic: all the ingredients to be historical! 

First thing to be said is regarding the surfing conditions: poor. No nice way to say it! Especially because Supertubos didn’t offer (yet) what we all want and wish for. The sandbar is there and the swell has been around but unfortunately not with the best size and direction. Some waves have been pumping in other spots nearby but WSL looks determined to have the main spot as the stage

some glimpses of Supertubos

The crowd vibe at the beach is worldwide known and those who show up for sure understand why. Along with France and Brazil, the public in Portugal built his reputation among the World Tour athletes due to his noise and constant support, despite nationalities and who takes the win. “Like a football stadium”, “So loud that I could barely hear the speaker” and “impressive and scary” were some of the words used by pro surfers to refer to the local crowd. The fact that the line-up stands so close to the public makes everything unique!

the early morning crowd starting to warm up the engines

WSL commentators often speak about Portuguese crowd but, besides the local language, English, Spanish, French, Italian and German are everywhere.

Every athlete is cheered like a rockstar, as they should. Of course, the Portuguese surfers Miguel Blanco and Vasco Ribeiro took a bit more love and support out and surfers Jordy Smith, Kalohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi also raised the noise levels. Superstars like Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo made the crowd crazy but definitely the biggest hype happened when Portugal favorite son Frederico Morais, super-freak Gabriel Medina and the best of all time, Mr. Kelly Slater, stepped their feet on the sand. Simply unbelievable and goosebumps producer 🙂

KS getting some distance from the local fans before his round 4 heat

The positive point of the surfing conditions was that everyone could see how to ride average waves – the ones that most of the “human” surfers surf most time of the year, and how to pull out some miracles. The amount of speed pro surfers can generate in such a short space, the buckets of water they throw in every single carve and the crazy pop they got for each air were absolutely amazing and totally worth to watch it live!

free surfing
Jordy airlines
Andino flying
Conner Coffin digging hard

Small surfing usually benefits those who have the air game in their repertoire. The same is to say the lighter surfers and/or the Brazilians. The scores proved it. In terms of air maneuvers, two main names clearly got advantage from all the others: Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina. They were definitely the ones who pulled the bigger airs, got more speed and especially showed more flow! Toledo clearly was not at his best form yet. Andino and Igarashi didn’t show the same flow and Jordi not as loose on these types of conditions. Crisanto performance was remarkable and now he only needs to keep that consistency to put his name next to the main sharks.

On the bummers side, Kelly Slater looked nervous and lost during his round of 16 heat and, even thought he pulled some nice snaps and carves, he failed every air attempt. Well… for sure we’d love to surf 1/1000 of what he does on the age of 47! 

The King

The different performances between those who had the air moves and those who not was crucial and responsible for letting some surfers look like having no idea what else to do and kind of lost during their heat.

But the biggest drama was for sure what happened to the best surfer so far- the interference call. Who had priority? Should Gabriel had a look at the prio before paddling ? Was it an interference? Questions that all the best surfers novel should have… but for sure not worth to point the finger to those who simply try to make for their life: Caio! One thing is for sure- every time Medina visits Portugal there’s some drama. And we just love it!

Round 16 has just finished and this Sunday’s sunset is on the way. Time to hit the road back north and digesting all that these surfing days offered. Two hours writing on the way back will help that cause.

Once finished, a quick look at the forecast shows that Espinho will be pumping and the sun will be out. Perfect excuse for those who need some rest of the Peniche crowds and want to catch some nice waves. We will be there- on our surf house waiting for you while the event is live streaming or on the line-up, trying to do perform like the pros.

See you around!

Watermark Surf House