Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, has taken out the Rip Curl Pro Portugal over Kelly Slater (USA), 39, in clean three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) barrels at Supertubos today.
Event No. 9 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title Series, the Rip Curl Pro Portugal culminated in exciting fashion today as a feast of picturesque barrels closed out one of the most memorable events in ASP history.
De Souza tore through the field on the final day of competition, taking down Travis Logie (ZAF), 32, Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, and Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, en route to his final clash with Slater. The young Brazilian opened up with a solid forehand barrel to secure a 9.00 out of a possible 10 and put pressure on the defending champion. Slater answered back with two solid scores of his own, but De Souza came back in the final minutes to hammer the nail in the coffin and secure the third elite tour win of his career.
“Kelly (Slater) has been my hero since I ever heard about surfing,” De Souza said. “He is a living legend and to be competing against him at this level is more than a dream come true. He has pushed me more than any other surfer and I owe him a lot. The waves have been incredible for this event. Thanks to Rip Curl for bringing us here and thanks to all the Portuguese who have supported me throughout the event.”
Today’s win vaults De Souza from 6th to 3rd on the ASP World Title rankings and into contention heading into the last two events of the year.
“I haven’t been as consistent as I would like to be this season but I have had two of the biggest results of my career here and in Brazil,” De Souza said. “It’s very special to win in these kinds of conditions. I just want to finish the year with some good results – I’m not thinking about the World Title.”
Slater, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, moved one step closer to clinching his 11th crown today. Should he finish 9th or better in the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco event (two heat wins), he will seal the deal.
“It’s been an amazing event,” Slater said. “I can’t remember a time when we’ve had so many 9s and high 8s and we’ve all just got barreled off our heads for three days straight. It’s been pretty amazing. Unfortunately, there was really only that one good one in the Final and I made a priority mistake and let Adriano (de Souza) have it. It’s obviously a good result for me and it makes things harder on everyone else. Let’s hope for good conditions in San Francisco.”
Photos credit : Kelly Cestari and Kirsten Scholtz / ASP