24-year old Adriano de Souza seized the title in difficult conditions; tricky two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves were all that were on offer for the final heats of the Billabong Pro at Barra Da Tijuca. This is his second elite tour victory and the win catapults the Brazilian to the top of the ASP World Title Rankings.
The final heats in the competition threw up some controversial results, including de Souza scoring higher than Owen Wright in the quarterfinals. However, the ASP judges reviewed all the evidence in an effort to satisfy the discussion between media, fans and surfers and concluded with this statement:
“I pose the question, would you, as a fan of top-level surfing, prefer the surfers to do a good turn on a small easy wave or a good turn on a wave that is going flat-out with a heaving, unforgiving closeout section?”
It’s difficult to pull-off good moves on small, choppy, fast-moving set waves and easier to do the same on the smaller waves that ran a bit further but were easier and softer to ride. All the top surfers on the day had a choice of which type of wave to ride. Everyone had the same chance to be the champ. Full marks to de Souza for seizing his opportunity.