Marlon Lipke, Owen Wright and Pat Gudauskas post upset wins at Rip Curl Search
The Rip Curl Search got underway today in three-foot surf at Mohle Leste, Portugal, and there were upsets in five of eight first-round heats that were contested before organizers paused the competition, which is expected to resume Friday. The upsets did not involved top-ranked ASP World Tour surfers, who were seeded directly into the second round.
World Tour rookie Marlon Lipke, who is German but was raised in Portugal, posted the day's highest best-two-waves heat score--14.66 out of a possible 20, while defeating fellow rookie Michel Bourez of Tahiti. Lipke utilized an aggressive backhand approach on the wedgy right-handers and afterward said: “It feels so good, I forgot how good it feels to get through a heat as I haven’t got through one all year."
Australian wildcard Owen Wright, who is ranked No. 3 on the World Qualifying Series tour and will likely compete on next year's World Tour, eliminated Hawaii's Kekoa Bacalso, who is ranked No. 17 in the world.
Also posting an upset was San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas, who defeated Australia's Chris Davidson, who is ranked No. 20. Gudauskas, who was allowed to compete as an injury replacement, is ranked fourth on the WQS.
Brazil's Jihad Khodr and Oxnard's Nathaniel Curran also posted upset victories. Eight first-round heats remain to be contested.-- Pete Thomas
Photo: Marlon Lipke en route to scoring a major upset over fellow World Tour rookie Michel Bourez in the first round of the Rip Curl Search at Molhe Leste, Portugal. Credit: © ASP/ CI/ SCHOLTZ via GETTY IMAGES