Mon, 28 October 2019

The tightest men's title race in history heads to Hawaii for the last event of the year. After Portugal, there is all manner of permutation for the men's and women's world title race.

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STICKING IT: Jordy smashed a couple of world beating moves. Photo WSL / Poullenot


Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Caroline Marks (USA) upset the apple cart, so to speak, in cooking 4-6' surf at Supertubes in Peniche for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Unfortunately for Jordy Smith, he couldn't find the waves he needed in the final, but his runner-up place (and the fact that Gabriel Medina dropped out in 9th place) keeps him in the hunt for a maiden world title when the CT climaxes in December at Pipeline, where Jordy has been living.

For the 17-year-old sensation Marks, she now also has a shot at a maiden world title with her win, while runner-up Lakey Peterson (USA), eliminated world #1 Carissa Moore (HAW) in the semi-finals to solidify her second spot on the Jeep Leaderboard and narrow down the title race to less than 3,500 points between her and Moore heading to the Hawaii Pro in Maui at the end of November.

Even tighter for the men, a mere 1,925 points separate the top four on the leaderboard, with a range of permutations opening up for Hawaii. It's a tough ask for Jordy, who is going to have to not only crack a top finish at Pipe, but hope that the others crack under the pressure.

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ON YOUR MARKS: Aged only 17, she's set the world alight on tour this year. Photo WSL / Poullenot

“That was so sick, I’m so glad to go back-to-back and win again,” said Ferreira, who was defending event winner. “Congrats to everyone. I’m so happy, what an amazing event. It has been so special for me the last couple of months, I’m so happy with myself and my team, it’s been amazing. That air was unreal and I’m so glad I landed it, it was a special heat for me against Jordy (Smith) who’s one of the best competitors. Hawaii is going to be fun for sure. The race is open and I need to learn a little bit more, but let’s try!”

While Smith chipped away with a couple of average scores early on, Ferreira came out swinging in the Final, posting a Perfect 10 in the first five minutes of the heat. The high-flying Brasilian, who built up momentum since the Quarters this morning, launched into a massive backhand full rotation, perfectly landed in front of the wave’s explosion to get the crowds to erupt on the beach. He then proceeded to fly away on his forehand and backed up his main score with a 7.83 (out of a possible 10) to put pressure on the South African.

Ferreira went on to extend his lead with another big rotation on his backhand as Smith looked at finding two new scores for an 18.43 (out of a possible 20) combined total with 15 minutes on the clock. As time continued to run down, Smith couldn’t find the waves he needed and Ferreira walked away with the win.


LONG AND SHORT OF IT: Jordy and Ferreira celeberate the boost in points. Photo WSL / Poullenot

Jordy’s road to his third Final appearance in Peniche included epic performances to eliminate World No. 5 Kolohe Andino (USA) and No. 6 Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in the Quarters and Semifinal. Smith came back in the dying minutes of his Semifinal matchup against Igarashi with an incredible forehand full rotation to post a 9.33 and belt his ticket for the Final. While the Portugal event win still eludes Smith in 2019, his excellent result kept his 3rd spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, making it one of the closest title races in the history of professional surfing.

I kind of needed to start sticking some big airs but I’m psyched to bring it on to Pipe.“You want the best in the world when they’re at their best and that was him right there,” said Smith. “Congratulations to Italo (Ferreira), he surfed unbelievably. I kind of needed to start sticking some big airs but I’m psyched to bring it on to Pipe. My training will be pretty much to spend as much time out there as I can and work on my boards and my physical body and that’s really all you can do, show up on the day and be ready for it,” he said. For the women, Marks, showed again that she is a major threat to the world’s best surfers: “That was incredible I’ve been dreaming of making a Final against Lakey (Peterson) and we’ve been talking about it since I started working with Mike (Parsons),” said Marks. “I just want to say thanks to her for pushing me so much, I wouldn’t be here without her. That was super fun, I’m so stoked this is the best year of my life and I can’t believe it!”

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SHREDDED: Peterson closed in on Carissa Moore heading to Hawaii. Photo WSL / Masurel

Marks claimed her second event this year (after the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast) in only her second season on the CT for inclusion in the title race conversation. The young sophomore eclipsed seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in the quarters before eliminating Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in the semis and Peterson in the final. The Floridian came in ranked fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard and will leave Europe in third position after a runner-up in France and the win in Peniche.

“I’m just trying to live in the moment but staying in the Title Race is the goal,” she added. “I want to go all the way for sure, that’s so exciting. I’m not going to change anything, I’m just going to surf all day and have fun.”

In the first half of the final, Marks nailed a couple of good turns on her lethal backhand to build a healthy 12 point total and push Peterson against the ropes early on. The 17-year-old stayed patient in the lineup while Peterson scoured the beach for opportunities and once again Marks got the better of the next exchange to improve her lead, and put Peterson in a combination situation.

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AIR BRAZIL: Ferreira rockets into a huge punt in front of the fans in the finals. Photo WSL / Masurel

Peterson has been one of the strongest surfers in the second half of the 2019 season, posting an equal 3rd, two runner-ups and a win in the last four events to stay in the world title hunt.

“It’s almost like I put too much into that semi-final, and ran out of fuel in the final,” said Peterson. “There is so much on the line for everyone right now, and I was just so stoked to have a heat with Carissa again in conditions that were a bit better. I was so stoked to make the final with Caroline. We surf a ton together and she’s pushed me a lot so I just want to say congratulations to you, Caroline, you really deserved it.”

The ever-composed Hawaiian seemed victim of the tensionThe second semifinal was arguably the most important heat of the season between Jeep Frontrunner Carissa Moore (HAW) and #2 Peterson. In a remake of their Roxy Pro France semi-final, this time the Californian got the upper hand early in the Supertubos lefts to put pressure on Moore. Unusually, the ever-composed Hawaiian seemed victim of the tension, and made a couple of priority mistakes and couldn’t complete her waves, chasing a mid-range 6.74 (out of a possible 10).

With a third equal 3rd place finish this season, Moore retains the Jeep Yellow jersey heading into the final event, but the gap with Peterson and Marks has narrowed after Portugal. The domination of the three compatriots atop the Jeep Leaderboard marks a historic first in 38 years, since the Margo Oberg (HAW), Liz Benavidez (USA) and Brenda Scott-Rogers (USA) era in the 1981 season.

Men’s Championship Tour Top 5
1 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) - 51,070 pts
2 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) - 50,005 pts
3 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) - 49,985 pts
4 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) - 49,145 pts
5 - Kolohe Andino (USA) - 44,665 pts

Women’s Championship Tour Top 5
1 - Carissa Moore (HAW) - 58,600 pts
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) - 55,125 pts
3 - Caroline Marks (USA) - 53,410 pts
4 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) - 48,950 pts
5 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) - 44,555 pts

Permutations in Hawaii

Three Women's World Title Contenders – Carissa Moore, Lakey Peterson & Caroline Marks
If Carissa Moore wins Maui she clinches the World Title;
If Moore gets a 2nd Lakey Peterson needs a 1st to take the World Title from Moore;
If Moore gets a 3rd Peterson needs a 2nd & Caroline Marks a 1st;
If Moore gets a 5th/9th/17th Peterson needs 3rd & Marks a 2nd to force a 3 way Tie Surf Off for World Title decision in Maui.

Five Men's World Title Contenders – Italo Ferreira, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Jordy Smith & Kolohe Andino
If Italo Ferreira wins Pipe he clinches the World Title;
If Ferreira gets a 2nd Gabriel Medina & Filipe Toledo will need a 1st to take the World Title from Ferreira;
If Ferreira gets a 3rd Medina needs a 2nd, Toledo & Jordy Smith a 1st;
If Ferreira gets 5th, Medina needs a 3rd, Toledo a 2nd, Smith a 1st;
If Ferreira gets 9th, Medina needs a 5th, Toledo a 3rd, Jordy a 2nd & Kolohe Andino a 1st;
If Ferreira gets 17th/33rd, Medina & Toledo will need a 9th, Smith a 5th & Andino a 2nd.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Final Results
1 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 18.43
2 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6.17

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Women’s Final Results
1 - Caroline Marks (USA) 13.73
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 6.27

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Men’s Semifinal Results
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.83 def. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.66
SF 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.43 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.86

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Women’s Semifinal Results
SF 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 13.16 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 7.70
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.23 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.50

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