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Everything You Need to Know About The Rip Curl Pro Portugal

14 October 2019

Go behind the scenes at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. This is your one-stop-shop for everything from wildcards to World Title races.

The town of Peniche is unassuming. Home to one of Portugal’s largest fishing industries, it’s a bustling, working-class economy. At first glance you’d never assume it held any secrets – but if you look just a little bit closer, you’ll see that it plays host to one of the world’s best barrels. Supertubos.

Supertubos is a pumping sandbar that offers both left and right barrels running at the speed of a freight train, perfectly hollow yet never forgiving.

In 2009, Rip Curl’s Search event series took the world’s best surfers to the tiny town of Peniche, and from the second we laid eyes on the green beauty that is Supertubos, we were hooked. We haven’t missed a year since.

In 2019, we are pleased to announce that the world’s best female surfers are once again returning to compete at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

During the event waiting period you will see the best men and women in the world compete in barrels ranged from 2 – 12 feet, pounding into the Portuguese sand bank, giving us a show to remember.

The World Title race also heats up in Portugal. As the second-to-last stop on the World Tour each year, Supertubos plays host to heart-stopping heats that make or break World Title dreams. This year, the heat is on and the race is firing.

To help you digest everything that goes down at the Rip Curl Pro we’ve decided to make this a one-stop-shop. From wildcard announcement to World Title races, this is the home of all the action at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Raw, real and as behind the scenes as it gets.

Check back daily for updates, and be sure to tune in to the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal via the World Surf League from October 16 – 29, 2019.

Event Updates:


Interview: Alana Blanchard Scores the Women’s Wildcard for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Alana Blanchard has been given the women’s wildcard to compete at Supertubos for the 2019 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Alana Blanchard has just been given the wildcard for the women’s event at the 2019 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. This wildcard gives her the chance to once again compete against the world’s best surfers in at one of the heaviest barrels in the world, Supertubos.

Alana had the opportunity to compete at the first-ever World Tour event at Supertubos back in 2009, when it was the Rip Curl Pro Search. As this is the first time the women have returned to Supertubos since 2011, Alana will be among a select few female athletes who have had experience competing at the wave.

We had the opportunity to catch up with her in the lead-up to the event to talk all things Supertubos, Wildcard and World Tour.

How are you feeling about getting the wildcard to the Rip Curl Pro Portugal?
I am super excited, especially to have the opportunity to surf Supertubos. It’s been my goal this year to get into a CT event, and it feels good that the time has come! I am actually coming off a back injury so I haven’t been able to surf that much in the last few months, but even so I’m feeling really strong and I can’t wait to get the jersey on again.

You had the opportunity to compete here in 2009… how do you feel about coming back to compete at Supertubos again?
You know, it’s such a tricky wave! We actually ran at the other site over at Baleal in 2009 and that was super fun, we got really good waves. I remember back then thinking what a hectic wave it was, so gnarly – I think a lot of the guys that year got hurt. I was only 18 at the time though, so things are definitely different now. I surfed it the other day when it was pretty big and I started thinking how sick it was, it’s almost like a Pipeline on the beach. I’m really excited to compete at Supertubos again, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous!

And tell us about your back injury… what happened there?
I actually injured my back earlier this year in February, and I didn’t realise how severe it was. I had a few back spasms and they just didn’t go away. You don’t realise how serious back injuries can be – I got to a stage where I couldn’t do much. I finally realised that I just needed to rest and rehab my back.

Jack, Banks and I had plans to come to Europe so I was aiming for Europe as my goal to be healthy again, and I feel like I am at least 95%. It’s definitely a lot better, and I’m super focused on doing exercises and making sure I’m strong.

After having a baby and continuing to surf, you can really do a number on your back. Being a rotation sport, a lot of surfers have back injuries – that’s something I didn’t really even know until now. Being a surfer is hard on your body, and we have to train to ensure we don’t get injured! And I mean, being a mom adds to it – Banks if 40 pounds, and I basically carry around a 40-point weight all day!

And we heard a rumour that you were considering putting some time in on the QS this next year?
I mean, yes, I am definitely going to do some QS events next year. I don’t know if my rating will let me get into some of the 10,000s, but that’s what my goal is. They’ve put some a huge emphasis on making the women’s World Tour so much better, and I would love to be a part of it. I feel stronger than ever, despite my back injuries, and it would be so fun. I would love to start the year off great and win a 10,000 – but we’ll see how it goes, you never know what the year throws at you. This year was hard because every time there was a contest my back went out, and I have tried to take that as a learning. I am super positive at the moment about the future and my focus is to just get stronger and stronger.

Why now? After so many years, what has made you decide you’re ready to try and come back to the World Tour?
Honestly when I was doing the Tour I was so young, and I feel so much more mentally stable now. I feel more aware of things that I wasn’t then, and some things bothered me then that don’t now.

I’m a lot different now, in how I think – and I think if I made Tour I would handle it a lot better now. I was doing it by myself and I was 18 years old, I never had anyone travelling with me, and it was a lot. Nowadays I have a support group and that’s such a big thing. It would be a different story, and I’m excited to see what is possible.

With a potential World Title on the line, Alana is coming in as a dangerous wildcard with some big goals. Stay tuned for her performance in the 2019 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, with the waiting period kicking off October 16.

Can Gabriel and Carissa both lock down their World Titles during the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal? Let’s break down the scenarios.

As the second-to-last event of the year, the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal isn’t just another display of excellent surfing - it’s the event that makes and breaks year-long World Title campaigns, and sometimes sees a Champion crowned.

So, what’s possible for the front-runners in Portugal this year? There are only two surfers who can clinch a World Title at Supertubos - Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore, both precious Champions at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Here are the scenarios:

Women’s CT World Title Scenarios going into Portugal

- If Carissa Moore wins the MEO/Rip Curl Pro, Lakey Peterson needs a 2nd to force a “Surf Off” in Maui;

- If Carissa gets 2nd, Lake Peterson needs a 3rd, Caroline Marks a 1st to take the World Title decision to Maui;

- If Carissa gets a 3rd, Lake needs a 5th, Caroline a 2nd (force a Surf Off), Sally Fitzgibbons a 1st to take WT decision to Maui;

- If Carissa gets a 5th, World Title decision goes to Hawaii.

Men’s CT World Title Scenarios going into Portugal

- If Gabriel Medina wins the MEO/Rip Curl Pro, Filipe Toledo will need a 5th or better, Italo Ferreira a 2nd, to take the World Title decision to Pipe;

- If Gabriel gets 2nd, Filipe will need a 9th or better, Italo a 5th (to force a “Surf Off” at Pipe) or better, Jordy Smith & Kolohe Andino a 3rd or better to take WT decision to Pipe;

- If Gabriel gets 3rd, World Title decision will go to Hawaii.

So there you have it. Gabriel and Carissa can both clinch World Titles at Portugal in 2019, wrapping it up before the final event of the year at Pipeline.

But for the most part, a win in Portugal relies on the results of their competitors. Even if both Gabriel and Carissa win the event, their closest rivals can still push the World Title to Pipeline with solid results.

For the women a World Title in Portugal would be monumental for female surfing. 2019 is the first time the world’s best female athletes have had the opportunity to win a World Title at Supertubos - yet another historic moment for the progression of the women’s sport.

For the men, this could be Gabriel Medina’s third World Title - a record that very few surfers have achieved. A win here in Portugal would put Gabriel in exclusive company with the likes of 3x World Champions Tom Curren, Mick Fanning and Andy Irons.

So the only question now is, will Gabriel and Carissa’s opponents give them the opportunity they need to make history?

Do you like sardines?

Flashback to 2009 where WSL commissioner (although CT competitor in '09) Jessi Miley-Dyer, along with World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and former CT surfer Pauline Ado gave the local delicacy a go... and what better place to do so than the Sardine capital of the world, Peniche, Portugal.

Here, the girls sink their teeth into the local culture... literally.

Forecast: Solid Swell Set for Start of MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Supertubos is one of those waves that, when it’s on, it’s on. A thick, heaving lip, a shallow sand bottom bank and a hollow, spitting barrel.

Each year the MEO Rip Curl Pro gives the world’s best male and female surfers the chance to put on a show and take on one of the heaviest barrels on Tour.

This year? The forecast is in, and it looks like we’re in for a quick start and solid swell.

Surfline the official forecast partner of the WSL are calling for...

- Potential early start to competition on the 16th - 20th with head-high surf for Supertubos during the morning hours.

We’re currently tracking an overlapping WNW swell increase from the low-pressure system over the North Atlantic - combined with the high-pressure system building towards the Azores which should produce desirable swell. Here’s hoping we see some action from the seeding and eliminations rounds in the early stages.

- Following this initial bump, a storm brewing near Greenland and moving towards the Northeast Atlantic may send "surf in the head-high to 1-2’ overhead range" to Supertubos over the weekend.

The rest... it’s too early to say. Stay tuned as we keep an eye on the charts. There will be an updated forecast on Monday, 14th October. Check back here.


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