It's been a slow few days in Peniche, Portugal, so it's easy to understand that contest organizers were eager to get Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal underway. In what could be easily considered incontestable conditions, they would ultimately only end up running four heats -- two of which dramatically shifted the race for the 2013 ASP World Title.
Frontrunner Mick Fanning edged out local wildcard Francisco Alves to start the day. Kelly Slater would not be so lucky in the following heat. In desperate need of a score at the end, Slater couldn't find what he was looking for and fell to another wildcard, Frederico Morais.
Slater openly admitted to his lack of motivation following the heat.
"After surfing the tour for 20 years, sometimes it's hard to really care when the conditions are like this," said Slater.
"If this week works out, great," added the 11-time world champion. "If not, well Mick has been the great performer of the year. Obviously his results have been great at every event, it's hard to beat a guy like that."
Two heats later the contest was called for the day as the surf quality deteriorated further. Unless Fanning has a complete meltdown, the world title is now a foregone conclusion. A third place finish in Portugal will clinch it for him.
"This morning, conditions felt alright and once we got out there it felt a little bit weaker with that tide coming in," said Fanning. "I'm just stoked to get the heat done and start moving."
The question has to be asked: was it fair to run heats with dramatic world title implications in conditions where the world's most elite surfers could barely get 10-point totals, but then deem the waves too poor to finish the rest of the round?
There are still six days left in the waiting period and rumor of more swell to come, so while the title race may have lost some of its luster, there's still a lot at stake for the guys hoping to improve their end-of-the-year standing.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00 def. Francisco Alves (PRT) 8.93
Heat 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.34 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.13
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.50 def. Dillon Perillo (USA) 8.26
Heat 4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.60 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.03
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 5: C.J Hobgood (USA) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 9: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)