Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, has won the Billabong Rio Pro over Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, in tricky two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Barra Da Tijuca and the win catapults the Brazilian atop the ASP World Title Rankings.
The Billabong Rio Pro, stop No. 3 of 11 on the men’s ASP World Title Series, saw the world’s best surfers tackle a variety of conditions after a week of lay days and ran at both the lefthander of Arpoador and the tricky beachbreak of Barra Da Tijuca over four consecutive days to decide the 2011 Billabong Rio Pro winner.
De Souza, who was a standout throughout the Billabong Rio Pro, won several close heats on the final day of competition before scalping a commanding victory over Burrow with the support of a massive Brazilian crowd behind him.
“There are no words to express how I feel right now,” De Souza said. “Thanks to my manger for pushing me every day, I couldn’t have done this without him. Thanks so much to my fans, who have been on the beach supporting me from the beginning to the end and to my sponsors. I’m happy to keep the title in Brazil one more time.”
De Souza, who is now the frontrunner on the ASP World Title Rankings, was also apprehensive in announcing his current position atop the elite standings.
“It’s still very early days and next event will be J Bay so I’m going to be pushing myself,” De Souza said. “Kelly (Slater) and all of these guys are such amazing surfers and have been on tour for such a long time, but I’m going to try my best.”
Taj Burrow looked deadly throughout the Billabong Rio Pro and posted the highest scores on the final day of competition, but despite opening his account with a 7-point ride in his bout for the title against De Souza, was unable to find a second score to surpass the local favorite and finished runner-up.
“I didn’t even really start that well and it really slowed up in the Final,” Burrow said. “Adriano had a good tactic in that heat and connected with two pretty good waves. I just couldn’t find a wave out there.”
Burrow, who finished runner-up on the Gold Coast to Kelly Slater (USA), 39, was admittedly distraught after coming painfully close to another elite event victory.
“I’m pretty devastated right now, but eventually I’ll be able to smile about it,” Burrow said. “Two seconds is good, but I didn’t want to lose that one, I wasn’t planning on losing that one.”
For Billabong Rio Pro highlights log on to http://www.billabongpro.com
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
Billabong Rio Pro Final:
1 – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.63
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.17
Billabong Rio Pro Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.27 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.50
SF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.00 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.40
Billabong Rio Pro Quarterfinals Results:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.26 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 14.43
QF 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.60 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.17
QF 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.03 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 6.27
QF 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.23 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.10
Photos credit : Kirstin Scholtz / Kelly Cestari for ASP