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Mon, 23 October 2017

Jordy Smith's world title hope took a massive blow yesterday after another Round 3 exit, this time at the hands of Josh Kerr in 6-8 foot barrels at Supertubos in Portugal.


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YELLOW JERSEY: What odds Florence takes the title in Portugal again? Photo WSL / Masurel


The World Title race took an emphatic turn when five of eight contenders bowed out early in Peniche, opening the door for John John Florence (HAW) to potentially claim back-to-back World Titles if he finishes big in Portugal. However, Gabriel Medina (BRA) looks on fire, and he will try to spoil the party. The 2014 World Champion can push the title race to Hawaii with a win at Supertubos.

Both made it through potentially tricky Round 3 heats, but Jordy did not. In the day's biggest upset, the world #2 was beaten by Josh Kerr (AUS) in a wave-starved heat. More than a few people have said Jordy was underscored on one of his waves, but you have to make your own luck they say.

The Australian caught a good wave in the opening minutes to post a 7.17 and take an early lead. Smith multiplied his efforts but they didn’t come off.

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IF ONLY: Two Round 3 exits have severely dented hopes for Jordy. Photo WSL / Poullenot


“I’m pretty much officially done with the tour,” Kerr admitted post-heat. “I’m looking forward to doing a lot more trips and traveling with the family, we have great opportunities to turn to. My daughter really wants to do an event with me so at some point I might come out of retirement to do a QS if she’s doing the QS. I’m Jordy (Smith)’s number one fan and I really want him to win the world title so hopefully he still gets a shot at Pipe and can pull it off there.”

Current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) took on lethal wildcard Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) in Round 3 and left nothing to chance as the reigning World Champion -- who was crowned in Peniche last year -- operated his barrel riding magic to put two solid scores on the board early on. Ribeiro fought hard and navigated a couple of great barrels but wasn’t unable to match Florence’s impeccable wave selection and fell short of turning the heat.

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KERR-TAILED: Josh Kerr has probably ended Jordy's world title bid. Photo WSL / Masurel


Gabriel Medina (BRA) is realistically the last remaining World Title contender after John John banked points for his Round 3 win, but barring Julian Wilson winning both remaining events and Medina and Florence bombing badly. The former World Champion and winner in France put on an all time performance to keep his campaign alive. Medina started his 30-minute bout with a near-perfect barrel ride scored 9.77 to instantly push Ethan Ewing (AUS) in a pressure situation. Freed from all pressure, the explosive goofyfoot took his act to the air and entertained the massive crowds posted on the water’s edge.

“I’m not thinking about the title, I just want to surf and I’m stoked I got some good waves in that last heat it was super fun,” Medina said. “Ethan (Ewing) is a very good surfer and I don’t think you can ever hold back in a heat. I always tried to replace and improve my backup and that’s why I went for the airs. Supertubos is hard, you can get two 9s quickly on two sets so I just tried to go big.”

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FUNKY COLD MEDINA: Gabriel Medina takes to the air after banking barrels. Photo WSL / Poullenot


In a slow match-up between current No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), the Italian rookie got busy at the 10-minute mark to score two back-to-back barrels, the best of which on his forehand to post a 6.33 and put Wilkinson up against the ropes. The giant killer from Rome, who ended the World Title race efforts of Filipe Toledo (BRA) yesterday, continued to upset the World’s best.

Fresh off his season-best result in France, an excellent quarterfinal finish, Miguel Pupo (BRA) continued his recent successful trend and once again defeated Adriano De Souza (BRA) in Round 3. Pupo already altered the former World Champion’s title race in France and definitely buried his chances in Peniche.

Julian Wilson (AUS), who won his opening heat yesterday with the round’s lowest heat total of 4.97, built momentum in Round 3 to eliminate fellow Aussie Jack Freestone (AUS) and move on to Round 4. The Sunshine Coast resident, currently sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard, still has a mathematical chance to rival Florence for the 2017 World Title but will need two massive results in Peniche and Hawaii. Frederico Morais (PRT) and Connor O'Leary (AUS) both made it out of Round 3 today, to keep the Rookie of the Year race increasingly close.

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BARRELS APLENTY: Seabass pulls into a meaty tube at Supertubos. Photo WSL / Masurel


Surfline, official forecaster for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for: Fresh run of head-overhead WNW swell moves in Tuesday and continues through mid-week, while good wind conditions prevail. At this point, there are no swells of much significance for the last days of waiting period (27th-31st).

For more information, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com.


MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 2 Results
 Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.66 def. Mason Ho (HAW) 6.33
Heat 2: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.20 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.17
Heat 3: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.27 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 4.93
Heat 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.34 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.40
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.24 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.00
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 5.03 def. Nat Young (USA) 2.87
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.07 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 6.90
Heat 8: Connor O'Leary (AUS) 10.70 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 5.97
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 15.93 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.23
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.53 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.77
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.33 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 3.87
Heat 12: Conner Coffin (USA) 11.10 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.60

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results
 Heat 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.76 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.63
Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.10 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 4.77
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.43 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 7.00
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.96 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.56
Heat 5: Connor O'Leary (AUS) 15.73 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 14.74 def. Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 13.73
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.67 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.27
Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.74
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 11.67 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5.27
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.54 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.24
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.40 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.40
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.34 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 10.40

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Match-Ups
 Heat 1: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW), Kolohe Andino (USA), Connor O'Leary (AUS)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA), Mick Fanning (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA)

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