PRAIA DE SUPERTUBOS, Peniche / Portugal (Monday, March 7, 2022) – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) have won the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl, the third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), claiming victory in the Finals against Lakey Peterson (USA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) respectively, held in three-to-four foot surf at Supertubos.
A full five consecutive days of surfing have taken competitors through all the different moods of Supertubos, from windy heavy surf to the perfection of yesterday’s barrels, to culminate with today’s glassy and rippable peaks for the Finals.
Tatiana Weston-Webb Claims Third CT Career Win, Makes Into WSL Top 5
Claiming a career-third win on the Championship Tour, the Brazilian bounces back in a big way after a deceiving start to her season where she was eliminated twice in equal 9th place at Pipeline and Sunset. Weston-Webb has moved up to 4th place on the season rankings heading into the last couple of events before the inaugural mid-season cut narrows the field down after Australia.
“I’m just so grateful. God always has a plan and I just trusted in Him,” Weston-Webb said. “Honestly, I just had so much fun out there! Lakey and I had such a great battle back and forth, I was really stoked just to be out there. I think I can do anything I put my mind to. That’s the beauty of surfing and the beauty of just trusting and believing in yourself, if you have that mental ability to just overcome those obstacles that put you down.”
“For me, the beginning of the year was such a bad start and it was at two venues I thought I would do really well at,” she continued. “So for me, I know God has a plan and I will just trust in it and keep surfing and trying my best and believing in myself. That’s the nature of every competition, you just need to continue believing in yourself no matter what.”
In the Final, Weston-Webb got busy early and found a good set wave to lay down two big turns for a 7.33 (out of a possible 10) and the lead. Peterson replied with a 7.10 of her own and continued to push, finding another good score on backhand snaps to turn the heat midway through. Both surfers kept multiplying their chances, paddling for every wave coming through the lineup and giving the judging panel a lot to think about, with forehand and backhand combinations of turns on the clean little peaks of Supertubos.
The Brazilian eventually found another gem to perform on her forehand to post an excellent 8 point ride and take the win in Portugal.
Peterson placed runner-up at Supertubos for the second consecutive time after a final lost to Caroline Marks (USA) in 2019. The Californian had an opportunity to grab the yellow jersey with a win in Portugal but will instead head to Australia ranked 3rd in the world. Coming back from an injury that sidelined her for most of the 2021 season, Peterson proved if anybody doubted that she’s back where she belongs among the very best surfers in the world.
“It’s almost harder when you get so close, you’re right there and miss out on the win,” Peterson admitted. “It was a great heat with Tati, I’m stoked to be at the top of the overall rankings especially heading into Australia, Bells is like my second home now. It’s a great start, bummed I didn’t get the win, but congrats to Tati, she’s a really deserving champion and it was great to have a heat with her. I’m happy with my performance, but definitely hungry for more.”
Peterson had previously eliminated seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in their Semifinal bout. The Australian built a healthy lead at the beginning of the heat but was eventually overtaken and had to settle for equal third in Peniche.
In a rematch of last year’s Rip Curl WSL Finals, Weston-Webb came up against five-time WSL Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Semis, but this time the Hawaiian couldn’t find the right waves to lay down her big turns and was forced out of competition in equal third place.
Griffin Colapinto Claims First Championship Tour Win in High-Octane Final
A quiet start to the men’s Final was quickly forgotten when Filipe Toledo (BRA) posted the first good score for a combination of backhand quick snaps to build an early lead. Griffin Colapinto (USA) stayed patient and waited for the bigger set waves to push his backside turns and stayed in the heat with a big score of his own.
Both surfers went back-and-forth and grabbed the lead off each other multiple times but eventually the Californian found the edge with his vertical attack of the lefts for the win.
“It’s so weird you just get in this mode where you’re not even thinking about it,” Colapinto said. ”Even winning doesn’t feel like I thought it would, I’m still in this calm state where it hasn’t even set in. It’s so cool , I’m just trying to take in seeing Kolohe (Andino) and all my friends come up to me after the final.”
Colapinto earned his very first CT win in fantastic fashion, scoring deep barrels earlier this week, nailing the first perfect 10 point ride of the season last night on a massive air, and sealing the deal with brilliant rail work today. After a slow start in Hawaii, the Californian jumped 20 spots up to 7th on the WSL rankings after the completion of event No.3.
“The beachbreaks of California paid off,” Colapinto added. “I was training in these exact conditions so it’s funny that we ended up doing the Final in this. I just can’t believe the people I had to go through to get to this win, it’s as good as it gets. Everything I’ve been doing has paid off. It’s crazy after the first two events, I didn’t make it past round three and it was really hard with that mid-year cut coming up, so it was a hard one mentally, but I believe in the process and trust the unknown. No matter what, you’re always going to be learning and that’s my favorite part of the sport that it grows you as a person. Win or lose, you’re growing.”
The runner-up in the world last season, Toledo continued to impress and collected another major result in Portugal. Winner in 2015 in Peniche, today’s runner-up finish will vault him up into the Top 5 conversation in fourth position early in the season.
“I’m really happy to be back here in Peniche, Portugal,” Toledo said. “It’s a place where I feel very comfortable and the people are so welcoming. I just love it here, I guess that’s why I always get good results. The entire week just surfing and having fun with the boys and the waves were firing. Congrats to Griff, Tati, Lakey and everyone who have put on amazing performances, it’s been inspiring to watch.”
In a high-flying, all-Brazilian first Semifinal, Toledo and WSL Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA) pushed each other to bring out their best and eventually Toledo got the nod, sending Ferreira home with the equal third place result.
Two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) looked uncharacteristically affected by the pressure in the Semis against Colapinto. The Californian had a solid two scores and Florence kept falling as he tried to find the winning score, eventually bowing out in equal third.
As the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl wraps in Peniche, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) sit atop the 2022 CT rankings and will be wearing the yellow jerseys at the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, coming up from April 10-20, 2022 in Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia.
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.67 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.66
SF 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.40 def. John John Florence (HAW) 10.50
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.34 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.00
SF 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.76 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.17
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Final Results:
1 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.34
2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.20
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Final Results:
1 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.33
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.27