The Rip Curl Pro, which was held Wednesday at Peniche, Portugal, just completed Round 4 in punchy, rippable two- to three-foot waves at the backup venue known as Belgas.
Surfers in the three-man, non-elimination round pushed the boundaries of high-performance surfing with current No. 2-ranked surfer Jordy Smith leading the way and setting up for a possible finish Thursday.
Smith proved to be the in-form surfer of the day, netting a near-perfect 9.93 out of a possible 10 for an incredible aerial 360, which he completed on a good, clean right hander. Other winners included Kelly Slater, who dominated his heat from start to finish and kept his quest for a 10th world title well within reach — especially noting the shocking upset loss of current No. 3-ranked surfer Mick Fanning, who has been on a two-event tear-up until this event and now sees his chances of defending last year's world title greatly diminished.