It's another lay day in Portugal thanks to a bit of weather that's arrived in Peniche, and by all accounts the forecasted swell has yet to arrive. But down days for the Rip Curl Search aren't going to last for long. With plenty of surf on the way, here's a quick look at the world title race before things get out of control.
"While this Euro leg of the tour has been a little long and wave-starved I'm right where I want to be coming into the last two events," reported Mick Fanning on his blog. "I split from the Basque Country straight after losing my Round Three heat at the Billabong Pro and drove straight for Portugal to get prepared. It's a beautiful spot, great people and plenty of things to see, like most of Europe. The set-up for the event looks insane and with some solid swell predicted I think we're gonna see some quality waves."
Mick may have stolen away the ASP ratings' lead in Mundaka, but his march to a title is anything but a lock. "At this stage, mathematically, there are 10 surfers in contention for the 2009 ASP World Title, from current ratings' leader Mick Fanning to current Number 10 Damien Hobgood," reported ASP World Tour Manager Renato Hickel in a press release last week.And what about Parko? Right after surrendering the ratings' lead I speculated his bum ankle was still bugging him. Word out of Europe confirmed this, as some early rumors had him splitting and returning home to Oz to get the ankle operated on. Those were quickly squelched, and after seeing some doctors in France and getting plenty of rest, reportedly word is he'll be ready.
"He's been at an incredible sports rehab center in Hossegor all week," told Luke Egan this past Sunday on San Diego-based surf radio talk show Down The Line. "On his first wave in the Mundaka contest he re-injured the ankle, and that had a lot to do with who he surfed the rest of that heat."
Over the course of the year Luke's been serving as Parko's coach, so unless he's playing head games, we're assuming Parko will be back at it and looking to break a horrendous string of results.
"He's had some surfs on it since we've been here in Portugal and there seems to be some strength in areas that he didn't before," continued Luke. "At the moment, we just gotta hope he doesn't re-injure it when it starts going for it in heats."
Two events to go, and the race is tighter than any in recent memory. So just what is the scenario Mick, Parko and the crew face in Portugal? Well, according to the ASP, here's how it's shaking out:
If Mick Fanning were to win the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal:
Joel Parkinson would need a 9th or better and Adriano de Souza would need a 3rd or better to prevent him from clinching the 2009 ASP World Title in Portugal.
If Mick Fanning finishes Runner-Up at the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal:
Joel Parkinson would need a 17th or better, De Souza a 5th or better, Kelly Slater a win to prevent him from clinching the 2009 ASP World Title in Portugal.
If Mick Fanning finishes 3rd at the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal:
Joel Parkinson would need a 33rd, Adriano de Souza a 9th, Kelly Slater and Bede Durbidge will need a Runner-Up finish, and C.J. Hobgood and Taj Burrow will need to win to prevent Fanning from clinching the 2009 ASP World Title in Portugal."