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Samuel Pupo, Jack Robinson Set the Pace on Opening Day of MEO Rip Curl Pro

Pupo Kicks Off Campaign with a Bang, Robinson Goes Excellent with Massive Alley-Oop, Morais Lights Up Local Crowds in Day’s Final Heat

06/Mar/2024 - WSL

PRAIA DE SUPERTUBOS, Peniche / Portugal (Wednesday, March 6, 2024) - The MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal presented by Corona, Stop No. 3 on the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), launched today in quality, four-to-six foot surf at Supertubos and ran through the twelve heats of the men’s Opening Round before onshore winds forced event officials to stop the event.

The day started with beautiful offshore waves and a few barrels, offering perfect conditions for the start of the event. As it progressed, conditions evolved somewhat with more turn opportunities and air sections, giving everyone something to play with.

Pupo Kicks Off Peniche Campaign with a Bang

Samuel Pupo (BRA) was the overall standout of the men’s Opening Round today, posting a convincing 15.00 combined heat total (out of a possible 20). The Brazilian took a page out of Robinson’s book and went for his own alley-oop, but he scored the biggest points on two radical backside turns to show the diversity of his repertoire both on the rights and lefts.

“It was really fun out there,” Pupo said. “Hard to position yourself as it’s a big lineup and I was pretty far away from the other guys but I was pretty confident in what I was doing. I got to Portugal a few days earlier than everyone, I’ve just been practicing a lot, getting used to the cold weather and surfing every day. I know I need something big now to make the Cut but I’m confident and hopefully I can do better here than in the first two events.”

Robinson Goes Excellent with Massive Alley-Oop 

Last year’s runner-up in Peniche, current World No.3 Jack Robinson (AUS) picked up where he left off at Supertubos and found the first excellent score of the event. The Australian built speed on a fast right and launched into a huge alley-oop rotation which he landed and rode out of for an 8.83 (out of a possible 10). He backed it up with a decent second score to advance into the Round of 32.

“I was just trying to go as high as I could,” Robinson said. “I knew Crosby was probably going to go big too and the wildcard you never know, so I tried to make do with what I had. It’s good to be back here in Portugal. I went to Puerto Rico for the ISAs and I surfed so many heats there, so just trying to keep up the same energy. It’ll be good to have a couple of days off to just recharge and stay present.”

Morais Lights Up Local Crowds in Day’s Final Heat

Frederico Morais (POR) closed out the day in spectacular fashion as he took out the last heat of the men’s Opening Round ahead of Yago Dora (BRA) and sent Liam O'Brien (AUS) into the Elimination Round. The surfer from Cascais found two good lefts slightly less affected by the building onshore winds and carved them up clean with backhand snaps.

“It was hard work, definitely not as easy as it looked,” Morais said. “There’s a lot of bumps but I was able to find two fun waves so I’m happy. I was looking for the cleaner sections and trying to find space for two big turns and got the score!”

Goofies Revel in Men’s Opening Round Matchups

The rippable lefts and rights of Supertubos were kind to the goofy footers this morning and the likes of Cole Houshmand (USA), Jacob Willcox (AUS) and Joan Duru (FRA) capitalized early in the Opening Round. The Californian Houshmand, who won the Challenger Series (CS) last season and had a tough start so far on the CT, won his first heat of the year with a solid display on the clean wedges with big powerful turns.

“Every event has been a little bit of a step better so I’m stoked on winning that one,” Houshmand said. “First heat of the day is always tricky, you don’t know where the peak is or what the wave is going to do. I was a little bit disappointed on my performance but happy that I could grind it through. It’s a big change to be surfing against the best guys in the world, but at the end of the day you’re really surfing against yourself, and if you do your best surfing you’ll win most of the heats so that’s my goal.”

Willcox had a similar fun go in his first heat in Portugal as he advanced ahead of rankings leader John John Florence (HAW) and Marco Mignot (FRA). A former Finalist in Peniche, event wildcard Duru put on a show as well and posted a solid 13.96 heat total to take the win ahead of Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Rio Waida (INA).

“I went to the left of the beach where I saw a couple good waves this morning, cleaner and it paid off,” Duru explained. “It’s so good to be here as a wildcard, there’s no pressure and I’m just here enjoying the opportunity. I’m stoked to get some good waves here in Portugal, I love being here.”

Big Names Face Early Elimination in Portugal 

The 2022 winner in Peniche Griffin Colapinto (USA) suffered an unfortunate blow in his Opening Round bout and will have to face the treacherous Elimination Round when the event resumes. The Californian was in full control of the heat with only seconds on the clock, but he received an interference and was relegated to third on the buzzer.

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) had a really tight battle with Hawaiians Seth Moniz (HAW) and Eli Hanneman (HAW) in the Opening Round and was just 0.37 out of reach of a spot into the Round of 32. Instead he’ll have to fight it out in the Elimination Round with Matthew McGillivray (RSA) and Marco Mignot (FRA).

Gabriel Medina (BRA) was another victim of absolutely stacked heats in the Opening Round. The three-time World Champion was uncharacteristically slow to get into his groove and by the time he found a good score, he couldn’t build on it as the heat came to a close.

A heavy storm front moving onto the Portuguese shores with gale-force winds prompted organizers to call the event OFF on Thursday, and a decision will be made tomorrow for a potential next call on Friday, March 8, 2024.

For more news and highlights from the Opening Day at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal pres. By Corona, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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

HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Jake Marshall (USA), Joaquim Chaves (POR) 

HEAT 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Matthew McGillivray (RSA), Marco Mignot (FRA) 

HEAT 3: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Deivid Silva (BRA) 

HEAT 4: Ian Gentil (HAW), Liam O'Brien (AUS), Rio Waida (INA)

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

HEAT 1: Cole Houshmand (USA) 10.10 DEF. Connor O'Leary (JPN) 9.93, Jake Marshall (USA) 9.76

HEAT 2: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 11.77 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 10.07, Deivid Silva (BRA) 9.84

HEAT 3: Callum Robson (AUS) 9.17 DEF. Matias Canhoto (POR) 6.80, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 4.83

HEAT 4: Jacob Willcox (AUS) 11.24 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 7.27, Marco Mignot (FRA) 6.77

HEAT 5: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.96 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.00, Rio Waida (INA) 9.67

HEAT 6: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.76 DEF. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 11.20, Joaquim Chaves (POR) 7.77

HEAT 7: Jordy Smith (RSA) 13.67 DEF. Kade Matson (USA) 11.00, Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 6.96

HEAT 8: Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.60 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.87, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.50

HEAT 9: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 11.27 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.50, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 8.43

HEAT 10: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 15.00 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.80, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.16

HEAT 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.90 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.93, Ian Gentil (HAW) 10.73

HEAT 12: Frederico Morais (POR) 13.10 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 11.80, Liam O'Brien (AUS) 7.90

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)