Drew Courtney posts top heat score as Rip Curl Search completes first round
Australia's Drew Courtney was the top performer Friday as the first round of the Rip Curl Search was completed in 3- to 5-foot surf at Lagido in the Peniche region of Portugal.
Courtney, an ASP World Tour rookie, posted a best-two-waves score of 17.17 out of a possible 20 in defeating Hawaii's Dustin Barca.
“It is probably the biggest comp all year for me,” said Courtney, who is ranked No. 32 and needs a good result to improve his chances of re-qualifying for the 2010 World Tour. “I have come off a good result last week [in Spain], so I just want to keep improving and hopefully get another fifth in this competition, that would be great.”
The top 27 at season's end automatically re-qualify. The Rip Curl Search is the ninth of 10 World Tour competitions. The grand finale is the Billabong Pipeline Masters Dec. 8-20 on Oahu.
From a Southern California perspective, re-qualification is not likely for San Clemente's Chris Ward and Huntington Beach surfer Tim Reyes, who are tied at No. 35.
Courtney will face Carlsbad's Taylor Knox when competition resumes. Knox is ranked ninth. Here's the second-round lineup:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Nathaniel Curran (USA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 3: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 6: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 10: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Dean Morrison (AUS)
Heat 11: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Michael Picon (FRA)
Heat 12: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Greg Emslie (ZAF)
Heat 13: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 14: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 15: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
-- Pete Thomas
Photo: Drew Courtney goes vertical on a left-hander during a first-round triumph at the Rip Curl Search in Portugal. Credit: © ASP/ CI/ CESTARI via Getty Images