This Easter weekend, the town of Peniche will be receiving the oldest international surfing event held in Portugal, the Rip Curl Pro. With 20 years of history, the Rip Curl Pro is the 10th stage in this year’s WQS tour, and the first event counting towards the European Professional Surfing Association (EPSA) 2007 ratings.

So, from 5-8 April 2007 surfers from all over the world will be charging the Lagido wave with the best professional surfing and lots of attitude, as has been this event's trademark year after year.

Surfers including France's Mikael Picon, Basque Eneko Acero, English Russel Winter, or national heroes João Antunes, Rodrigo Herédia and Marcos Anastácio have given the Portuguese fans the highest performances and are just some of the winning names in the two decades of the Rip Curl Pro’s history.

For this weekend's event some surfers have already lined-up. Hodei Collazo, Gony Zubizareta, Pablo Gutierrez and Iker Fuentes are Portugal’s neighbours and might be making a stop in Peniche. But the Portuguese are not willing to make their visit a happy one. Competitively speaking, of course.

Francisco Canelas or Ruben Gonzalez, who made it clear he will be putting his efforts towards the European title in 2007, have been unstoppable in the national tour and know the Lagido wave like the palm of their hands. Considered “sons" of Portugal, but defending their birth country, German Marlon Lipke and Nicolau Von Rupp are two other surfers to fear.

Also David Luís, a wildcard in this event (as Nuno Silva) and presently the national ratings leader, will be at Peniche. “I’m looking forward to compete at such a high level of surfing," said David. “My surfing’s ok, my boards are ok, and my head is on it again, so I think I’ll be fine at the Rip Curl Pro!"

Nuno Silva, who lives right in front of the wave, says: “It’s an honour, to compete at the Rip Curl Pro as a wildcard, so thank you Rip Curl. For us, who live in Peniche, this is a contest that’s part of our history, so I hope I can do well here, since I know this wave so well!"

But what makes so many national and international surfers to do their best not to miss the Rip Curl Pro? It’s quality! In spite of being a one star WQS event, with 10.000USD prize-money, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal has the same characteristics as some of the best events on tour.

Besides its great structure, very functional and with the best working conditions for athletes, judges and media professionals, its mobile quality makes it possible for the surfers to always compete on the best waves, let it be in Lagido or in Supertubos, were is ready and set an alternative judging tower.

Making use of the same conditions are also the young surfers that will be going in the Portuguese edition of the Rip Curl Grom Search, an event for surfers until 16 years old, to be held next Thursday. In former events, Nicolau Von Rupp and Francisca Pereira dos Santos tasted the sweet flavour of victory.

Like them, the winners from this year will have the responsibility of representing Portugal in the European final, to be held in Newquay, England, in August. An opportunity that those young athletes won’t miss, for sure.

Once more, the Rip Curl Pro’s organization it’s in the hands of Alfarroba. And, this year, for it’s 20th birthday, Alfarroba joined in with Câmara Municipal de Peniche (Peniche’s city hall) to bring us a great Music Festival, on Saturday, 10pm, at the side of Peniche’s Fire Department. Voodoo Marmalade (an Ukulele band!) will be playing, but also Three And a Quarter with their ska/reggae sounds, local punk rockers Dapunksportif and Dj Andy Phill. It’s surf and music hand-in-hand once again!

“It’s amazing that we’re celebrating this 20th birthday of the Rip Curl Pro in Portugal, the oldest EPSA event in Europe, exactly at the same time that, on the other side of the world, at Bells Beach, Australia, is being held this year’s second event of the ASP WCT Tour, the Rip Curl Pro, which is also the oldest professional surfing event," remembered António Pedro, from Alfarroba, who also joined with a very special partner this year, the Surfrider Foundation.

Next Saturday morning, Alfarroba and the Surfrider Foundation will organize a cleaning spree at the beach. And for all of those who’re not afraid of getting their hands dirty there’ll be a free surfing lesson from Alfarroba Surfing School after it. So be environment friendly… for your sake!

www.ripcurlpropeniche.com