As we all know, the ASP’s World Championship Tour paid a little visit to Puerto Rico in 2010 for the Rip Curl Pro Search. And it was goood. Kelly Slater won his 10th World Title, Steph Gilmore won her 4th, and La Isla Del Encanto’s Middles Beach delivered on a world-class level in the wave department. The locals were stoked to showcase their renowned breaks and get a chance to watch the world’s best throw down right in their backyard, and the top pros were more than happy to accept the hospitality and enjoy all that the beautiful island had to offer.
With the exception of three-time World Champion and much-loved Hawaiian pro Andy Irons tragically passing away after leaving Puerto Rico, the Rip Curl Pro Search went just about as well as any event could possibly go. So it was just a matter of time before Rip Curl and the ASP would be back for more. After all, everyone knows that “Puerto Rico lo hace mejor.” And now, finally, it’s official. The ASP 4-Star Rip Curl Puerto Rico Pro presented by SeePuertoRico.com is headed to Jobos Beach in Isabela on February 6th-10th, 2013, and it seems like everyone is excited about it. Power-surfing icon Taylor Knox immediately wanted in and said in a press release, “I can’t wait to get back to Puerto Rico…February 2013 can’t come fast enough.”
Many of the local top pros shared that same sentiment. “It’s awesome because I grew up at Jobos,” Brian Toth said. “I’m just psyched to have an event here, and I can’t wait to have everyone come surf at our break. I’m really looking forward to it, and hopefully Taylor Knox won’t back out, because it would be really cool to see that legend surfing out there and maybe even have a heat with him.” Toth also said he hopes his entire community will get a bit of a boost from the event. “A lot of contests around here upped the money for their prizes after [the WCT event came through], and it also brought in lots of tourists. So when this new event comes through, it’ll be a lot of people, and the local businesses will be very happy.”
Werner Vega, a local shaper, shop owner, and president of the APSPR Puerto Rican Professional Surfing Association, said he sees the upcoming event as a big opportunity for local athletes to jump into the spotlight and claim valuable ASP ratings points right on their home turf. And, naturally, any big event that makes its way to the island builds appreciation for the sport within the local community. “Just like with the Rip Curl Pro Search event in 2010, people are very enthusiastic about watching the best surfers in the world compete in Puerto Rico,” he said. “They love it. They’re stoked.”
According to a press release, event organizers like Rip Curl USA's Vice President of Marketing, Dylan Slater, have been very happy with the reaction from the community and are hoping that the Rip Curl Puerto Rico Pro will live up to the high standards set by the company's previous event. “The support from the local government and local surfers has been overwhelmingly positive, and we can’t wait to bring an ASP event back to the Caribbean,” Slater said.
East Coast surf fans will surely be booking their plane tickets soon, but even if you can't make it down to Puerto Rico, the contest will be streamed live at www.RipCurl.com.