Mick Fanning claimed the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal and solidified his lead in the WCT race for world champion. This was event No. 9 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Search ran a wide variety of conditions and venues ranging from two-foot righthand wedges at Molhe Leste, four-foot offshore lefthanders at Lagido, punchy four-foot peaks at Belgas and death-defying six-to-eight foot barrels at Supertubos yesterday before culminating a dramatic end to competition.
Fanning, who won the inaugural Rip Curl Pro Search at Reunion Island in 2005 and was a standout in yesterday’s massive barrels, readjusted to today’s smaller conditions and was dominant in his Final against Durbidge. With conditions deteriorating, Fanning lacerated the punchy wedges on his forehand to net a solid 6.67 and a 6.00 that would prove unbeatable for his opponent. “Yesterday was one of the best days of competition I’ve ever seen and we all showed up today and had to adjust our frame of mind to deal with the drop in size and quality,” Fanning said. “I’ve been surfing conditions like this all summer at home so I knew what I had to do out there. I was able to pick off a couple of good scores at the start and then I basically had to sit on Bede (Durbidge) so he didn’t get any back on me.”
A true student of focus and adaptability, Fanning was a fitting champion of the Rip Curl Pro Search, and navigating the changing venues and conditions with aplomb and panache. “The Search lived up to its name – we searched everywhere,” Fanning said. “We surfed four different waves for the event and even yesterday, I wanted to go and surf down at the wall, but we ran here and it ended up being one of the best days of the year. Congratulations to Rip Curl and all the staff who put in some really tough work all week with all the moves – it’s been a pretty amazing effort.”
The Rip Curl Pro Search narrowed down the field of potential contenders for the 2009 ASP World Title from 10 to two throughout the course of the event, with the final event of the year at the Banzai Pipeline playing the decider. “That’s what you always dream of as a kid competing for an ASP World Title at Pipeline,” Fanning said. “I’m super pumped. I’m going to go home and relax for a couple of weeks and get ready for Pipe. Hopefully we get some big barrels like we did here and we have a real showdown.”