The ninth annual Perfect Chapter powered by Billabong is officially done and dusted, and Nic von Rupp is the winner. The conditions at Carcavelos Beach, a fickle sand bar in the beautiful town of Cascais, Portugal, were about as good as they get.
All day, the waves didn’t let up. From the beach, it felt like one long, continuous set. An offshore breeze held them up, creating the funneling tubes the Perfect Chapter needs to run.
Driving to the contest site this morning, it was readily apparent that the predicted swell had arrived. Torrey Meister and Mikey February were in the van, and most of the conversation consisted of breathless, awed comments. “How’s that left?” Meister said, his face pressed to the window. Outside, we drove by non-stop waves. When we arrived at the contest site, it was incredibly obvious that the organizers had made the correct call when they lit the green light. And as the day progressed, things just got better and better.
Nic von Rupp’s win came after a series of amazing performances from all the surfers. Carcavelos is not an easy wave to surf by any stretch of the imagination, and it was made even more difficult by the caliber of the surfing on tap. Take, for example, Aritz Aranburu’s 9.5:
View this post on Instagram
“Aritz and Nic are trying to win it for a third time, so that’d be pretty special for for either of them,” said Ace Buchan just before the final started. “Both guys are incredible tube riders in their own right, and have kind of made a career of chasing some of the most beautiful and heavy waves all around the world.”
The final consisted of von Rupp, Pedro Boonman, William Aliotti, and Aranburu. It was perfect timing — the sun began its descent to the horizon as the horn sounded and the waves, as they had all day, continued to pump. At the halfway point of the heat, von Rupp held onto a tight lead. Boonman, Aliotti, and Aranburu trailed, in that order.
He would hold onto the tight lead until the very end. And now Nic von Rupp is officially a three-time winner of the Perfect Chapter.
“I’m feeling through the moon right now,” he said on the beach. “There were so many heats. So many high moments and so many lows as well. I felt like I was so far from winning at the start of the heat. The guys started off really well and I had to play catch up.”
It’s a hometown win for von Rupp, and although he’s won twice before, he felt like the three-peat was a long time coming.
“I felt good this morning,” he laughed. “I woke up and I was like, ‘man, I’m going to win today.’ I’ve been dreaming for a long time to win three times. The last time I won was 2015, so seven years ago. I’m a different surfer these days, and coming back to my origins — places like Carcavelos that I grew up surfing — and getting back to barrel riding… it’s been a long road. I’m just super stoked.”