2024 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal -JBay residents Jordy Smith and Matt McGillivray get joint 17th.

PENICHE, LEIRIA, PORTUGAL – MARCH 11: Matthew McGillivray of South Africa surfs in Heat 6 of the Round of 32 at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal on March 11, 2024 at Peniche, Leiria, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

PRAIA DE SUPERTUBOS, Peniche / Portugal (Saturday, March 16, 2024) –Today, Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Johanne Defay (FRA) have won the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal presented by Corona, Stop No. 3 on the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), over Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS) respectively in the finals, held in four-to-six foot surf in an exciting fifth day of action in Portugal.

Competition resumed at dawn with the men’s Quarters and women’s Semis before taking a break over the lowest part of the tide. The event was called back ON with the building swell on the incoming tide and the day culminated with the event finals held before capacity-crowds at the iconic praia de Supertubos.

Colapinto Finds Super Tubes, Wins Second Supertubos Title

“It was weird, I started off strong and then Ethan and I were just trading off mistakes back and forth,” Colapinto said. “Then I found that first barrel and when I went for the turn I almost fell, was on both my knees and somehow made it back to my feet, and that switched the momentum. And then I got down the beach for that 9 and finished it off with a barrel.”

Griffin Colapinto (USA) had a brilliant start in the Final, finding two good scores right away while Ethan Ewing (AUS) was scouring the lineup for opportunities. The Australian fought back midway through with two backhand turns on a meaty left and came right back in the fight. Colapinto then found a great barrel on a rare right and packed a solid closeout turn to post an excellent 8.27 (out of a possible 10) and solidify his lead.

The Californian put the final nail in his opponent’s coffin with an insane barrel on his backhand this time for a near-perfect 9.67 and his second win at Supertubos, his career-fourth.

“It was really nice watching Crosby surf his heats. I was so invested in what he was doing that I felt like I was surfing twice as many heats,” Colapinto added. “I had a hip surgery in the off season and it took me almost three months to get back in the water. I put so much effort in and I thought it would pay off right away but in Hawaii I got two 9th. Sometimes you just have to trust it, now I have a win so I’m psyched.”

The 2022 winner in Peniche, Colapinto was unstoppable on finals day, taking out Joan Duru (FRA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) on his way to the Final before putting on a barrel riding clinic for the win. Last year’s World No.3 has now taken over the rankings and will wear yellow heading to Australia, having secured his spot among the best for the back half of the season.

2024 MEO Rip Curl Pro

PENICHE, LEIRIA, PORTUGAL – MARCH 11: Jordy Smith of South Africa surfs in Heat 3 of the Round of 32 at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal on March 11, 2024 at Peniche, Leiria, Portugal. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/World Surf League)

Defay’s Backhand Comes Clutch for Win No.6 and First in Europe

“It’s overwhelming,” Defay said. “Waves changed and the swell arrived for sure, I think we both had similar strategies and maybe we both had boards a little bit small for these waves. I focused on the lefts obviously and was looking for two turns but in the end one was enough.”

Waves got scarce in the women’s Final and tested the nerves of two of the most experienced surfers in the field. Johanne Defay (FRA) was first to put a couple of decent scores on the board, applying pressure on her opponent Tyler Wright (AUS) as time slowly dripped away.

Both surfers focused on the lefts and at that game the French surfer from Reunion Island had the upper hand, applying her polished backhand turns in the right sections like she has done countless times to win big events. As time continued to slip away, the Australian was unable to find an open wall to work her magic and Defay claimed the win.

This marks Defay’s sixth career CT win, her first on European soil, and moved her into second place on the rankings ahead of the Australian leg. It also signals her official return to 100% form after a difficult season last year, plagued by an injury early on.

“Last year was fun and weird at the same time,” Defay added. “I really enjoyed my time at home even if I was injured, it was kind of a break that I deserved too. Coming back to contests it was hard to find my feet again and my fire but I worked hard and just wanted to show my injury didn’t take me out completely.”

Prior to today, Defay had never made it past the Quarters at Supertubos, but as lefts started pumping in the middle of the beach, the powerful regular foot reveled and dominated once again. With a solid start in Hawaii and back-to-back Quarterfinals, Defay’s win today puts her right on the heels of World No.1 Molly Picklum (AUS) in the rankings.

Ewing Claims Runner-Up, Ties Florence in Rankings No.2 Spot

Last year’s runner-up in the world, Ethan Ewing (AUS) posted his best result to date in Portugal but couldn’t quite convert all the way for a third CT win. He still showcased some of the event’s finest surfing to dispatch two ferocious goofies, Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) on his way to the Final.

“It was super cool to surf the Final with Griffin, we’re really good friends,” Ewing said. “We haven’t had that many man-on-man heats together but they’re always super fun. When I came to Portugal I was really unhappy with my surfing but just to kind of pull through that and the cold water and the long travel was great.”

The Australian has also officially made the Mid-season Cut with this result and before heading home to Australia. Ewing and Colapinto had previously eliminated Crosby Colapinto (USA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) respectively in their Semifinal matchups.

Two-Time World Champion Wright Back to Winning Form

After her worst season start since qualifying full time in 2011, two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) has put two third-round exits in her rearview mirror and found her pace in Portugal to reach the Final. 

“It’s amazing, I feel like this has been a really key point for my year,” Wright stated. “It’s taken me a while to figure out some of the different changes that I’ve had going on. I’m really excited to be in Portugal, honestly, this is me and my wife’s favorite event all year, so thank you Portugal for having us, I really enjoyed myself.”

Open about health issues and the changes she has made to continue to progress in her career and life, Wright has definitely found her form again and will be a threat as she heads to Bells Beach where she is the back-to-back defending event winner.

Defay and Wright had previously eliminated Lakey Peterson (USA) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) respectively in their Semifinal matchups.

Medina’s Rampage Halted in Semis, World Champion is Back

After an Opening Round poor performance, three-time World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) found his groove again and started to build momentum at an event he’s extremely familiar with and has the full support of the local crowds. The Brazilian went on an absolute rampage through the rounds, posting 16.60, 17.16 and 18.00 heat totals (out of a possible 20) on his way to the Semis. 

Despite a last-minute good effort, Medina came up just short against Colapinto in their Semis bout but this result has propelled him into 15th place on the rankings with a ton of momentum and confidence.