PENICHE, PORTUGAL – Kanoa Igarashi placed third for his second podium finish of the season Saturday in the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, the 10th of 11 stops on the World Surf League Championship Tour.
Igarashi, who won the first WSL Championship Tour title for Japan in May, was beaten when South African surfer Jordy Smith posted a solid score in the closing minutes of their semifinal heat, losing by 3.17 points.
Italo Ferreira won after scoring a perfect 10 with a massive backhand full rotation on his first wave in the final. He slides into No. 1 on the Tour rankings ahead of the season finale, the Dec. 8-20 Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii.
According to the WSL, the 2019 title race is one of the closest in the history of professional surfing with less than 2,000 points separating the top four surfers.