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Competition Window for MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Opens Tomorrow

Florence and Picklum Lead World’s Best in Peniche, Tough Conditions Ahead as Multiple Storm Systems Hit the Atlantic, First Call: Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30AM WET

06/Mar/2024 - WSL

PRAIA DE SUPERTUBOS, Peniche, Portugal (Tuesday, March 5, 2024) - Stop No. 3 on the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal pres. by Corona, is in the starting blocks as the official competition window opens tomorrow and runs through March 16, 2024. The first call will be made on Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 a.m. WET at Supertubos.

After an incredible start of the season in Hawaii, the world’s best surfers have arrived in Portugal where they are ready to suit up and throw down at the infamous praia de Supertubos. John John Florence (HAW) and Molly Picklum (AUS) lead the rankings and will wear yellow this week in Peniche as they fight to keep the top spot before the Australian leg and subsequent Mid-season Cut.

The Hawaiian two-time World Champion has a solid track record in Portugal, reaching the Quarterfinals or better five times throughout his career and Supertubos is where he claimed his first World Title back in 2016. After a first full, injury-free season last year, Florence is excited to put his best foot forward chasing an elusive third World Title.

“I’m super happy to be back here, I have great memories obviously winning my first World Title here was pretty exciting for me,” Florence said. “This wave is amazing and the town is amazing, its people, it’s amazing to see the support for surfing here. The power of this wave reminds me a lot of Hawaii, when it’s good it’s one of the best beachbreaks in the world, and when it’s bad it’s really challenging and it makes it a fun event to compete at.”

Picklum comes with less experience but has proven lethal in solid waves, which Portugal often delivers in the back half of the European winter. The Australian is on a tear so far this season, reaching both finals at Pipe and Sunset and has a target on her back as the rest of the field chases her.

“It’s a good place to be for sure but we’re definitely early in the year,” Picklum reflected. “I feel in a good position and that was definitely a good start and I’m just happy to be here in Peniche, enjoying the waves that hopefully come. There are many different waves out there, you can do turns, barrels and airs and I’ll just try to lay on all of those and see how we go. We’ve seen a big push at the start of the year, we got great waves at Pipe and Sunset and I think us ladies were just ready to give it a good crack. We’re just having fun with it!”

The current leaders will face an extremely talented field that includes six previous winners at Supertubos: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the men’s, and Caitlin Simmers (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Caroline Marks (USA) in the women’s.

Simmers had a breakthrough rookie season in 2023, claiming her first Tour victory in Peniche and has since claimed two more, including the season opener at Pipe in January. The young Californian sits second on the rankings, not far off the pace imposed by Picklum and will try to go back-to-back in Portugal, a feat only achieved by Ferreira in 2018 and 2019.

“I think figuring out the rip currents out there is key,” Simmers said. “There’s a little luck involved, I think sometimes the peak just comes to you, it was a lot of fun last year and I loved being here. The current level on Tour is pretty fun to watch, even from an outsider perspective, and it’s really cool to just be a part of it. ”

The rest of the field will be hungry for points and the shifting peaks of Supertubos could prove a great opportunity to bounce back. Local hero Frederico Morais (POR) is right on the bubble currently in equal 17th place and needs to start putting serious points on the board if he wants a safety mat before the fields are reduced post Margaret River.

“I'm very proud to be among the best, it’s super special,” Morais said. “Even more special being a member of the elite and not as a wildcard. It brings some responsibilities, of course. I want to do my best and represent Portugal at the highest level. I know I will give everything I have. This is a special stage for me, being able to have everyone shouting for us, I feel privileged to share this stage with Francisca and Joaquim.”

The world’s best will also have to count on local wildcards to spoil their week and Peniche will see fresh new faces take it to the lineup at the highest level. The 2022 World Junior Champion Francisca Veselko (POR) and current National Champion Joaquim Chaves (POR) enter the draw for the first time on the CT this week. 

"It's a very good feeling, I'm very happy,” Veselko said. “Since I was little my dream has been to be on the World Tour, I'm going to get a taste of what it's like to be on the CT, and I see it as a great opportunity. Since I was 9 years old, I have imagined myself here. It was in Supertubos that I won my first national title and it is a very special beach.”

“It will be one of the most important moments or even the most important moment of my life,” Chaves commented. “I always dreamed of participating in a CT. I feel very privileged to compete with someone I have idolized since I started surfing. It’s an opportunity that I want to make the most of.”

Former Finalist in Peniche Joan Duru (FRA) and rising French threat Marco Mignot (FRA) will also be joining the fun in Peniche.

Tough Conditions Ahead as Multiple Storm Systems Hit the Atlantic

Surfline, an official forecast partner of the WSL, calls for a succession of large swells and variable, strong winds throughout the 11-day event window of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. There are a few windows of lighter winds and favorable conditions throughout, starting with a potential quick start on the opening day tomorrow. Event officials also have the opportunity to move to secondary locations if need be.

WSL One Ocean and SHISEIDO Partner with Peniche Ocean Watch in Portugal 

Peniche Ocean Watch is a social and environmental impact initiative, on a mission to develop a Blue Circular Economy model that can be replicated and implemented in coastal communities around the world, to empower them to care for our ocean and to develop the next generation of ocean stewards.

Today’s WSL One Ocean activation helped out with the fishing net separations, picking PP strings and other plastic or rubbish that might be attached out of the nylon nets, leaving just pure nylon that can be up-cycled. Participants were able to help wash the nets, hang them out to dry and store the dry nets as well before being presented with some examples of furniture that has been made using the up-cycled material and the 3D-printer used in the process.

To learn more about WSL One Ocean, please visit WSLOneOcean.org.

World’s Best Surfers Inspire Younger Generation at Rising Tides Portugal

The current World No. 2 Simmers alongside Isabella Nichols (AUS), India Robinson (AUS), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Sawyer Lindblad (USA), Alyssa Spencer (USA), Sophie McCulloch (AUS) and local wildcard Francisca Veselko (POR) took some time on Monday to share the lineup with an excited band of groms under the guidance of Portuguese surfing legend Teresa Abraços. 

The group surfed fun, three-foot surf at Supertubos with the pros actively supporting the younger surfers and sharing valuable insights and motivation as they embark into their junior careers. 

Select Your MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Picks Now for WSL CT Fantasy

WSL CT Fantasy is open for the 2024 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and will lock before the competition gets to the men's Round of 32 or the women’s Round of 16. Sign up, create your team, and start playing now. 

Players can register now at ctfantasy.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL app.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Women’s Opening Round Matchups:

HEAT 1: Caitlin Simmers (USA), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Alyssa Spencer (USA) 

HEAT 2: Molly Picklum (AUS), Luana Silva (BRA), Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 

HEAT 3: Caroline Marks (USA), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Francisca Veselko (POR) 

HEAT 4: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA), Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 

HEAT 5: Johanne Defay (FRA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), India Robinson (AUS) 

HEAT 6: Tyler Wright (AUS), Brisa Hennessy (CRC), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Opening Round Matchups:

HEAT 1: Connor O'Leary (JPN), Jake Marshall (USA), Cole Houshmand (USA) 

HEAT 2: Barron Mamiya (HAW), Imaikalani Devault (HAW), Deivid Silva (BRA) 

HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Callum Robson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA) 

HEAT 4: John John Florence (HAW), Jacob Willcox (AUS), Marco Mignot (FRA) 

HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS), Rio Waida (INA), Joan Duru (FRA) 

HEAT 6: Jack Robinson (AUS), Crosby Colapinto (USA), Joaquim Chaves (POR) 

HEAT 7: Jordy Smith (RSA), Matthew McGillivray (RSA), Kade Matson (USA) 

HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Seth Moniz (HAW), Eli Hanneman (HAW) 

HEAT 9: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 

HEAT 10: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Samuel Pupo (BRA) 

HEAT 11: Ian Gentil (HAW), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA) 

HEAT 12: Yago Dora (BRA), Liam O'Brien (AUS), Frederico Morais (POR)