Italo Ferreira put a damper on Gabriel Medina’s hope to finish the world title race in Portugal after winning the 2018 MEO Rip Curl Pro with an amazing aerial display.
Ferreira went against French Joan Duru who put the pressure early in the Final heat with some backhand turns. The 24-year-old Brazilian was not going down without a fight though and did some forehand rotations that turned the table mid-heat. As time ran out, Duru couldn’t find an answer to his opponent’s 8.5 air. Ferreira won by a wide margin, 15.93 to 10.77.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Ferreira said. “In my first year here I made the final here and now I’ve won it. Thank you, Portugal. This place and this is crowd is amazing. I’m living my dream right now.”
This is Ferreira’s third CT win this year after winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and the Corona Bali Protected. Safe to say, this is his best season so far. He is currently in fourth place in the rankings and is proving to be a strong World Title contender in the coming years.
Ferreira’s win also meant that the World Title race will be decided in Hawaii after he eliminated Medina in the semis.
“Italo deserved that win,” Medina said after the semis. “It was always going to be an airshow and whoever did the best air was going to win. I’m happy with my performance here and all through Europe. I’ll go home now and focus on Hawaii. I’m excited and I’m in a great position.”
Medina is truly in a great position because his semis finish in Portugal increased his lead in the rankings but it’s still anyone’s game.
Duru was probably the biggest surprise in the competition. He placed 33rd in the rankings before the event and has now jumped ten places up to the 23rd spot. His runner-up finish is his best so far, after defeating some of surfing’s biggest stars like Filipe Toledo, Julian Wilson, and Owen Wright.
“I’m so stoked and I didn’t have many results before,” Duru said in an interview. “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.”
Now, all eyes are on the top three surfers as we go to the final stop of the CT tour. The Billabong Pipe Masters will commence on December 8.
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