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Mon, 21 October 2019

The window to Jordy Smith's maiden title opened a little after an interference call led to a frustrated Gabriel Medina's elimination from the penultimate contest of the year yesterday.


Clean 3-4' waves at Supertubos in the MEO Rip Curl Pro saw contenders Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA) and Smith make the quarter-finals. However, there was a bit of drama when Jeep Frontrunner Medina was penalised for a priority interference in his heat against Brazilian countryman Caio Ibelli, which might just cost him the world title. In the women's event, Hawaiian Carissa Moore leads the pack but Americans Lakey Peterson and Caroline Marks are hot on her heels after wins yesterday in the Round of 16.

He just had to get a 2.78 or more to overtake Medina's 8.17Two-time WSL Champion Medina had his Round of 16 heat in the bag with two good scores against Ibelli. Conditions were in favour of Gabby's dynamic style and aerial prowess. But with almost nine minutes to go, both surfers paddled for the same wave, and there was a bit of a jostle. Ibelli raised his hands in the air in protest. Medina gesticulated passionately at the judges - but to no avail. A priority interference was called, and Medina's second wave (a 6.17) was zeroed, plunging his score from 14.34 to 8.17 (his best wave). Ibelli had a 5.40 and six waves but all worth less than two points. He just had to get a 2.78 or more to overtake Medina’s 8.17. After three lame attempts, he eventually got a 3.10. Medina was out.

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INTERFERENCE RULE: Seems a bit unfair to dock an entire wave's score but there ya go.


Medina was having none of it, and requested the decision be reversed. He explained on Instagram: “Caio and I caught the same wave and each went one way. My wave was shorter and his was longer. So much so that while I was paddling back, he was still riding his wave. I was so sure the priority was mine I didn’t look at the priority sign. I went to talk to the judges. We looked at the open images of the two of us paddling back to the bottom with an open camera angle. It was very clear that I arrived well before. I hope the situation will be re-evaluated because an error has occurred.”

There are rumours doing the rounds that there might be a re-surfThere are rumours doing the rounds that there might be a re-surf, which suggests some people agree with Medina, but until that happens, he is out of the event. Ibelli was ever the careful compatriot, with a cautious display of diplomacy, perhaps a little like standing out of reach of an angry king cobra: “I went right on a wave before and I think he went left. I think I reached the lineup before him but further down the beach, and I got the priority. Once we met in the lineup again he was really close to me, I saw that I had priority so I paddled hard for that wave. I know he doesn’t do that kind of mistake so when I stood up on that wave I started to question myself. For me, Gabriel is the best surfer in the world and I look up to him so much, I have so much respect for him. Surfing wise he definitely won that heat but luckily everything went my way.”

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WINGS CLIPPED: The high-flying Medina was brought to earth with a bump. Photo WSL / Masurel


Unaware of the drama that would unfold later, Kolohe Andino (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) advanced through the first two heats of their round and will have a chance to close the gap with Medina when Finals Day rolls in, possibly on Wednesday. Both surfers continue to chase an event win this season and they will meet in one of the most anticipated quarterfinals when the event resumes.

“Those other guys have really good results so I think it’s going to take a win from me and maybe even another one at Pipe,” said Smith. “I’ve been relatively consistent, but at the end of the day you need those wins.”

World #2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) posted another major performance despite recurring back pain. By advancing into the quarters, he forced the men’s World Title decision to the last stop on tour, the Billabong Pipe Masters, in Hawaii this December. The Brazilian dismantled a little right with turns and then went to his aerial repertoire to seal the deal on a Quarterfinal berth.

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TORPEDO TOLEDO: Filipe surfed into the quarters with chronic back pain. Photo WSL / Poullenot


“My back still hurts sometimes and I just give everything I have out there, and try to be strategic if I’m not 100%. I actually felt pretty loose and confident out there today, it’s probably the first time since the event started. I’m happy to push the title to Hawaii, I feel like it’s going to make things more interesting for everyone and also give me a little more time to recover.”

Carissa Moore (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA), Caroline Marks (USA), and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) kept the 2019 World Title race alive. Courtney Conlogue (USA) was the only Top 8 surfer who couldn’t advance past the Round of 16. Jeep Leader Moore has had an unbelievably consistent season with no result worse than a Quarterfinal finish.

“I’m just trying to keep it happy and free and positive and having such a great support system here on the ground and at home helps so much,” said Moore. “There’s definitely a lot of talk about the title race but like I said before I’m realistic with expectations and I expect it to go to Maui. Lakey (Peterson), Caroline (Marks) and Sally (Fitzgibbons) all want it and they’re all fired up so there’s no taking my foot off the pedal.”

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LAKEY OFF THE LIP: Lakey Petersen is in a tight bunch of the 2019 peloton. Photo WSL / Masurel


When the official competition wrapped up for the day at Supertubos, the “Unwanted Shapes by MEO” specialty heat took to the lineup to raise global awareness for the plastic shapes nobody wants to see in the ocean. International stars Conner Coffin (USA) and Brisa Hennessy (CRI) as well as Portuguese legend Frederico Morais (PRT) and up-and-comers Afonso Antunes (PRT) and Mafalda Lopes (PRT) rode special boards made from domestic plastic waste (water bottles, plastic bags, various packagings, straws, etc) in the “Beat Plastics” heat. The initiative led by the event title sponsor MEO is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to raising awareness on global issues.

The MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal has been called off until Wednesday, which is predicted to fill in with some swell to hold finals day. The event is broadcast live on www.WorldSurfLeague.com

Men’s Quarterfinal
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
QF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
QF 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
QF 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)

Women’s Quarterfinal
QF 1: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
QF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Men’s Round 4
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.84 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 3.76
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.84 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.57
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.60 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.27
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.53 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.10
HEAT 5: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.50 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.17
HEAT 6: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 14.34 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.46
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.83 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.83
HEAT 8: Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.40

Women’s Round 3
HEAT 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.67 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.83
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.07 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 12.13
HEAT 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 9.50
HEAT 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.67 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 10.60
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.20 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.00
HEAT 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.66 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 9.54
HEAT 7: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.43 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.54
HEAT 8: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.40 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.34

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