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Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson make semifinals of Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal

October 27, 2009 | 12:54 pm
Mick Fanning tucks into a tube at Supertubos during the Rip Curl Pro Search in Portugal.
Supertubos was at its death-defying best Tuesday as the third round and quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Pro Search were completed at the notorious venue in Peniche, Portugal.

Still standing and neck-and-neck in the race for the world title are ASP World Tour ratings leaders and fellow Australians Mick Fanning (pictured) and Joel Parkinson.

Top-ranked Fanning muscled through one slabbing left-hander after another en route to a triumph over Fredrick Patacchia in the third round, then outclassed Tim Reyes of Huntington Beach in a quarterfinal heat.

“The wave just comes out of such deep water,” Fanning said of the thick-lipped tubes. “It is not super, super shallow, but one of those drops felt like Pipeline. It was crazy.”

Parkinson, who opened the season strongly but sputtered in three previous contests, returned to form and beat Kai Otton and Bobby Martinez of Santa Barbara.

“I’m just living to keep my dream alive,” said Parkinson, who is seeking his first world title. “I don’t focus on the opponent. I still have two heats to go and two heats to win and then the job is done.”

Parkinson scored a perfect 10 for a deep tube ride during the quarterfinal heat and afterward said of the waves and potential consequences: “Anyone is a danger in these waves. Mother Nature can send you the wave of the day, so anyone is a challenger. It has been awhile since I got really good waves in my heat and that has got the monkey off the back a bit.”
Owen Wright, 19, a wild card who competes on the qualifying circuit, continued to impress the judges and elite surfers, following up a second-round triumph over nine-time world champoin Kelly Slater with victories over Dane Reynolds of Ventura and Damien Hobgood of Encinitas.

However, Wright was victimized by the surf after a freefall wipeout late during his quarterfinal. He suffered a ruptured eardrum and it's questionable whether he'll be able to continue.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: ASP / CI / Cestari via Getty Images