The world’s best surfers have arrived in Portugal ahead of the start of the Rip Curl Pro on Tuesday, where the 2018 world surfing title could be decided.
Australian Julian Wilson has put himself back in the world title race after clinching victory at the Quiksilver Pro in France last week.
Gabriel Medina, the current World No.1, is the only surfer who can clinch the title early in Portugal.
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Fellow Brazillian Filipe Toledo and Australian Julian Wilson closely trail Medina in the rankings but will need critical finished to push the race to the Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
If Medina wins the event, Toledo will need a 9th or better and Wilson a 3rd or better to take the race to the final event of the year.
If Medina finishes 2nd or worse in Portugal then the title will also be decided in Hawaii.
Wilson is hoping he can do one better at the event than last year, where he lost the title to Medina in the final.
“After France, I’m just excited to be back in the title conversation,” Wilson said.
“And it’s looking like we are going to be greeted with really good swell the next few weeks here. I just got to town and came straight to the press conference. I drove down from France with my family. I’m pretty tired right now but the rumors on the forecast got me pumped. Let’s get this started.”
A call on whether action will go ahead on Tuesday will be made around 4.30pm (AEST) with a promising forecast on the horizon.
MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Yago Dora (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Miguel Blanco (PRT)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Samuel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 7: Wade Carmichael (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 11: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Michael February (ZAF)