Italo Ferreira wins Portugal, world title race goes to Hawaii

Form Guide

PENICHE, Portugal (Saturday, October 20, 2018)  - Italo Ferreira (BRA) has won the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Stop No. 10 of 11 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), over Joan Duru (FRA) in a Final held in clean three-to-four foot (1 - 1.2 metre) surf at the iconic Supertubos beach break. Tens of thousands of fans flocked the beach and dunes of Supertubos to support the athletes and enjoy high-performance surfing at one of Europe’s finest surfing spots. The electric vibe peaked every time surfers took their act to the air and fans lit up in loud cheers.
The 10th edition of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal witnessed incredible performances by the world’s best surfers earlier this week as Supertubos pumped heavy surf, and culminated today with Ferreira’s first-ever win on Portuguese soil.
“This is crazy, I can’t believe it,” Ferreira said. “In my first year I got a second here, so now I’ve got my first win here. Thank you Portugal and thank you to everyone on the beach and my family and friends. I’m so excited. That was a crazy year for me, I got a couple of wins and some bad results, but I’m just living my dream and this is the best feeling.”
World No. 4 Ferreira claimed his third event victory of the season after winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the Corona Bali Protected earlier this season. Despite being inconsistent with six early losses, the 24-year-old is in his best-ever season on the Championship Tour and will be a strong contender for the World Title race in years to come. In an incredible air show, Ferreira defeated compatriot Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Semifinals and effectively sent the World Title race to Hawaii by depriving Medina of a win in Portugal. 

Italo Ferreira

“I’m still learning and enjoying myself,” Ferreira added. “This is the best job in the world!”
Duru pulled the trigger first in the Final with a combination of two critical backhand turns for a 7.00 (out of 10) to apply pressure on Ferreira early on. But the Brasilian just went to what he does best and landed two back-to-back forehand rotations for a 7.43 and an excellent 8.50 to turn the situation mid-heat. The ocean, unfortunately, did not provide many more opportunities for Duru and the result remained unchanged for the remainder of the Final, giving Ferreira the win.
World No. 33 on the Jeep Leaderboard coming into this event, Duru posted with this runner-up result, his career-highest placing and will rocket up ten spots in the rankings to No. 23, to give himself a strong shot at re-qualifying in the final event of the year in Hawaii (only the Top 22 male surfers will requalify from the Jeep Leaderboard). Duru was the event’s giant-killer, having previously eliminated Filipe Toledo (BRA) in Round 3, Julian Wilson (AUS) in the Quarters andOwen Wright (AUS) in the Semifinals.

“I’m so stoked and I didn’t have many results before,” Duru said. “I just came here to have fun and make some heats so I’m really stoked to be here and it’s amazing. I really didn’t think about requalification and rankings, I just wanted to surf and that’s it. I’m stoked I had my family, my grandparents and my mom here with me, and thanks to all my friends for the support.”
In the first Semifinal, Ferreira got a quick start with a 7.17 in the early minutes of his exchange with Medina, launching what would become an incredible air show, with a good forehand rotation. Medina did not wait long to reply with a similar wave for a 6.83 and later upgraded to a 7.90 with an alley-oop to take the lead. Both surfers continued to showcase the different variations of their aerial repertoire and Medina seemed in control of the heat. But, out of nowhere, Ferreira pulled the biggest maneuver of the whole event for an incredible 9.30 to upset the 2014 World Champion and advance into the Final.

With his equal 3rd result in Peniche, Medina further extended his pole position on the Jeep Leaderboard, finishing ahead of his two rivals in the World Title Race, Toledo and Wilson. Coming off of four consecutive excellent results, Medina is undoubtedly the form surfer of the back half of the 2018 season and seems poised to claim a second World Title as the year winds up.
“It was a good heat against Italo as always,” Medina said. “He’s a good friend of mine and he deserved that one. I’m happy with my performance. I know I did my best and now my focus is on Pipe. We didn’t hassle each other, we knew it was going to be an air show. I come from two wins and two thirds so I’m happy with my performance and Pipe is a wave that I like so now I’ll focus on that.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA)
The Men's World Title Scenarios going into the last event of the season, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii, are as follows:
- If Gabriel Medina finishes 1st or 2nd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, he wins the World Title;
- If Gabriel Medina finishes 3rd at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Julian Wilson & Filipe Toledo will need to finish 1st;
- If Gabriel Medina finishes 5th-25th, Julian Wilson & Filipe Toledo will need a 2nd or 1st at Pipe.
In the second Semifinal, Duru took on Wright in another goofyfoot showdown, but this time most of the action happened on the wave face. Both surfers attacked the rights on their backhand, but the best wave of the heat came to the Frenchman and he posted a 7.83 to distance himself from Wright and take the spot for the Final. With an Equal 3rd place, Wright posted his second-best result of the season and moved up ahead of Jordy Smith (ZAF) to No. 5 on the rankings before the Billabong Pipe Masters. 
Michel Bourez (PYF), the first surfer eliminated today in Quarterfinal 1, kickstarted a return to form with an Equal 5th place in Peniche. The Tahitian surfer started his 2018 season strong with two 5th place results and a runner-up result in the first four events, but then suffered a heavy setback with four consecutive 13th place finishes and an even more unusual last place loss in France. A former Pipe Master, Bourez will have one more chance to redeem himself at the final event of the season in December.

In the second Quarter, World No. 1 Medina lit the beach on fire with aerial mastery and gave his opponent Matt Wilkinson (AUS) no chance with a 16.16 heat total (out of a possible 20). The Australian stuck to a different peak with clean little rights to exploit on his backhand but eventually bowed out in equal 5th place at Supertubos.

Duru continued his giant-killing spree and once again played spoilers in the World Title race as he eliminated Wilson in the third Quarterfinal. In a slow heat, Wilson waited too patiently to start putting scores on the board while his opponent was building his scoreline on smaller waves. Eventually, the gap was too big for the Australian to fill and he placed equal 5th. Wilson needed to advance through to the Semifinals to push the title race to Pipeline. 

The last Quarterfinal continued with the slow pattern and once again it was a goofyfoot who found the best opportunities early on. Wright surfed a very similar heat to Duru’s and put together a 5.00 and a 6.17 (out of a possible 10) to eliminate Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in equal 5th. The Japanese surfer failed to advance into a fourth Semifinal this season but put on a satisfying result following a disappointing 25th in France.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Final Results:
1 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.93
2 - Joan Duru (FRA) 10.77

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.47 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.73
SF 2: Joan Duru (FRA) 13.60 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.00

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.10 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.20
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.16 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.03
QF 3: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.57 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 5.10
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 11.17 def. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 4.60

2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal):
1 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 56,190 pts
2 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 51,450 pts
2 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 51,450 pts
4 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 43,070 pts
5 - Owen Wright (AUS) 35,570 pts


mattmac's picture
mattmac's picture
mattmac commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 10:37am

you would hope conditions aren't better today as have to question the decision to proceed with finals in such small inconsistent waves especially when so much at stake for world title contenders- Julian Wilson didn't really stand a chance in his Q/F with the waves on offer and poor Michel Bourez got skunked especially after seeing him ripping in previous days when had something decent on offer.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 11:53am

Just getting through the semis now, cheers as always for the broadcast SN; it seems the lefthand forehand small wave air game was the ace to play. Of course, that one's an important part of a full repertoire.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 12:01pm

My interest waned with the swell. Same for the France comp.

Liquidline's picture
Liquidline's picture
Liquidline commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 1:02pm

It’s a shame that the wsl prioritises viewer numbers over good waves. Have you noticed how finals day mostly runs on a weekend regardless even if conditions are more favourable before or after? Having said that I’m unsure what the forecast was doing for the next couple of days and that left was ripable enough.
Surprised Owen and Wilco didn’t sit on the left bank being goofys.

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 3:34pm

WSL is just doing everything it can to turn away actual surfers. Shocking call in France to run the finals when they had a solid forecast, calling the comp off here when it was massive (aren't they the best in the world?) thumping Supertubes and running the finals in weak 2 footers. Then you have endless air reverses winning a comp as if it was 2005. Its all just gone to shit and so quickly too

B Dub

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 5:54pm

It'$ absolutely bonkers they sent them out in that. It looked like an air show from the replay.
After watching the semi with italo and gabby ( I thought gabby should have actually made I through to the final.)
Man there's been some really weird calls from the wossell come crunch time for the last few years.
In my eyes mick's a 4 time world champ. Gabby won last year. ......
Just doing themselves no favours with decisions like today......

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Sunday, 21 Oct 2018 at 5:53pm

Its funny to see the new generation of journeyman surfers in the wossell.
Feel like some of these surfers are just going to work. .....I really do like the unpredictable nature of Portugal.
They totally could have found better waves to surf today.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Monday, 22 Oct 2018 at 4:22pm

Picturing (speculating) the upcoming final of Pipe Masters, with Medina v. Wilson.

Julian gets a heavy 5 second all time classic Pipe beast of a barrel and finishes with a vertical hack on the close out to finish, scores 8.43.

Medina takes off on next smaller wave, charges ahead of barrel, does an alley oop,
scores 10.0. Wins World Title.

I really hope I'm wrong and would love to see Julian win the title.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 22 Oct 2018 at 6:17pm

I'm with you but I believe Medina wins the world title if he makes the final. And Julian and Toledo should be on the opposite side of the draw. Therefore we need Owen, Jeremy, Kanoa, Kelly & John John in Medina's side of the draw :-)

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Monday, 22 Oct 2018 at 10:19pm

@belly re your first sentence, good point. ...and your second, ....and all of it.

I guess my point is that a single aerial at Pipe better not be the winning move.....but stranger things have happened in wozzle land :)

Billyw's picture
Billyw's picture
Billyw commented Tuesday, 23 Oct 2018 at 6:37pm

The only thing I would add is that Medina performs a 5 second exuberant claim after the alley oop

B Dub

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 22 Oct 2018 at 6:53pm

I loved the Portugal contest up until the finals which I didn't watch. Little inconsistent waves of the sort I was surfing when there which are no way contest level. Completely ridiculous for these fellas. Must have been a really shitty forecast to run it in that after we saw The Big O on those two massive backhand barrels, real elite surfing which no one was matching. Italo is a talented surfer, but in those gnarly conditions, the cream was rising to the top and he wasn't amongst it from what I saw.

nextswell's picture
nextswell's picture
nextswell commented Monday, 22 Oct 2018 at 9:34pm

It's hard to cop the judges handing out 9s and 10s for the single maneuver waves. They need to do something about the scoring. The finals day highlights are a perfect example. Medina's quarterfinal, Ferreira's semi, both their airs great but 3/4 of the wave nothing happens because they are trying to build speed. It's ugly to watch.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Tuesday, 23 Oct 2018 at 10:26am

Yep couldn't agree more you can see it telegraphed the second they take off. Ooo wee an air on a 2 -3 foot wave, unbelievable and stop the presses whilst I snore. Even if I was in the water I would be thinking, yep he is good at airs, now back to catching waves.

redmondo's picture
redmondo's picture
redmondo commented Tuesday, 23 Oct 2018 at 3:39pm

Julian is the definitely the jeep leader board winner in my book. He is the best in critical conditions when the going gets tough. John John is even better better.

shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Sunday, 11 Nov 2018 at 8:46pm

Stryder lost his house in the fires