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Surfing – Colapinto Tops Rankings After Portugal Win, Defay Claims One For The Veterans – News18

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Californian Griffin Colapinto surged to the top of surfing’s world rankings after two great tube rides gave him the win in the final over Australia’s Ethan Ewing at the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal on Saturday.

Californian Griffin Colapinto surged to the top of surfing’s world rankings after two great tube rides gave him the win in the final over Australia’s Ethan Ewing at the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal on Saturday.

In a battle of tour veterans, France’s Johanne Defay got the better of Australian Tyler Wright in a low-scoring women’s final in the tricky and powerful beachbreak of Supertubos, claiming her first world tour win in two years.

Brazil’s three-times world champion Gabriel Medina came into the contest hot off winning the final Olympic qualifying event in Puerto Rico to book his spot for the Paris 2024 Games in Tahiti and looked unstoppable before running into Colapinto in the semi-final.

Ewing recovered from a broken back late last season to finish No.2 in the world after beating Colapinto at the one-day Finals competition in California, and got the better of Colapinto’s younger brother, rookie Crosby, in their semi-final in Portugal.

But Colapinto got one back on Saturday, starting the final strongly with two solid scores to pile pressure on the Queenslander.

Just as Ewing looked to be coming back, Colapinto responded, first with a tube and a radical turn on his forehand, then with a long, deep backhand tube to finish with 17.94 points out of a possible 20.

“I had a hip surgery in the off season and it took me almost three months to get back in the water,” Colapinto said. “I put so much effort in and I thought it would pay off right away but in Hawaii I got two ninths. Sometimes you just have to trust it, now I have a win so I’m psyched.”

On the women’s side of the draw, the older guard staged an intervention after youngsters Caity Simmers and Molly Picklum dominated the first two events of the year in Hawaii to fuel talk of a changing of the guard.

Defay, Wright, Californian Lakey Peterson and Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb used their 50-odd years of combined experience on the world tour to claim all four semi-final spots in Portugal.

Wright, a three-times world champion, was too strong for Weston-Webb in their semi-final, while Defay secured a comfortable win over Peterson.

With the waves picking up in size but shutting down quickly for their final, both Defay and Wright focused on their backhands — a strength for Defay who grew up surfing the long left-handers on Reunion Island.

Defay scored a pair of fives for some big single manoeuvre turns to finish with 10.83 points to Wright’s 5.5-point heat total.

“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,” said Defay, now ranked No.2 in the world. “I focused on the lefts obviously and was looking for two turns but in the end one was enough.”

The tour now heads to Australia for a two-event leg, after which both the men’s and women’s fields will be cut by a third.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Reuters)

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