Adriano De Souza Wins Rip Curl Pro Portugal!
Brazilian Beats Slater in Final as Supertubos Delivers 3 Days of Barrels
If it were not for the giant tubes at Teahupo’o last August, this event in Peniche would have been the best waves on tour all year. For three days straight, Supertubos lived up to its name and offered the world’s best surfers left and right barrels of superb quality. All the praise in the world should be given to contest director, and former 2-time World Champion, Damien Hardman as he was not afraid to pull the trigger for all-day 12 hour marathons that allowed the contest to finish in 2 and a half days. Instead of making the same mistakes as Billabong contest director Luke Egan has made a few times this year, Damien saw that the swell was there and he took advantage of it.
And the pros are still thanking him for it. Especially eventual winner Adriano De Souza. As the mist settles from the tube-riding festival that was the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, three things became clearly evident. The first is that it is a given that Kelly Slater will win his 11th World Title this year. The second is that Adriano De Souza’s will to win can not be stopped by even King Kelly himself. The third is that the “New Tour” still has a little bit of the old “Dream Tour” left in it.
While all of the ASP Top 34 are excellent tube riders, Supertubos separated the excellent from the other-worldly. Four perfect 10-point rides were given out when conditions were at their best and barrel masters made it through into the final rounds without even performing a single turn. In fact, the top 10 scores of the event bottomed out at 9.77, with a dozen 9.00 – 9.67 rides not even making the stat list. That’s good surfing in good waves. That’s what the Tour should be. Rio, New York, and San Fran could never get close to the tubes at Peniche during this event. If they have to have a beachbreak on tour, then this is what it should look like.
Bede Durbidge started it off in Round 3 with the first 10-point tube, a wedging double-overhead beast that saw the Gold Coaster make a weightless drop and then hold his line until he exited cleanly close to shore. By the end of the third day of competition Kelly, Adriano, and Julian Wilson would also post 10-point rides on their way to the final rounds.
By the time the quarter finals rolled around, the eight best tube riders of the event were rightfully matched up against one another.
Heat #1 was a close one with Julian Wilson falling to Taj Burrow. Julian posted a 10 point ride but had only a 7.50 as a back-up wave. Taj picked off two clean inside tubes that got him through through to the semis. But when you look back at the heat on video, should Julian have won? Both of Jules barrels were more exciting than Taj’s. Check out the video and you be the judge.
Heat #2 of the quarters wasn’t much of a heat as Heitor never found any good waves to match Kelly’s deep tubes. Kelly managed to ad insult to injury when he got completely pitted on a left while riding goofy-foot. It was actually longer than Heitor’s tube, and Heitor is goofy-foot. Ouch!
Heat #3 saw Adrian De Souza out muscle Michel Bourez with a beautiful, huge tube that gave him a perfect 10. Michel fell victim of bad wave judgment and could not match Adriano’s competitive prowess. It was a good result for Michel nonetheless.
Heat#4 was a smoker with Bede Durbidge and Joel Parkinson both scoring 9 point tube rides on long clean rights. Bad luck continues to plague Joel as Bede’s left-hand barrel edged out Joel’s second wave by only 0.60.
That left Slater versus Burrow and Bede versus Adriano in the semis. And Supertubos did not waiver. Even a slight change in wind conditions did not hurt the competitors chances to get an amazing barrel.
In semi #1, Taj was leading the whole heat until Slater pulled out the last minute heroics. . . again. With time running down, Slater paddled into a draining left, got one solid pump in, and then disappeared for the entire length of the wave. As the wave finished, Slater popped out with his hands by his sides and his head looking up at the sky! The dreaded “no claim” claim. Ten pointer, thanks for coming, bye bye. Taj later claimed that Slater must “have a voodoo doll of me or something.” Maybe Slater has a voodoo doll of all the guys on tour. That’s his secret!
Semi #2 hit the water with Adriano and Bede and the two were treated to a lull in the sets. They managed to get some good lefts for scores in the high 6.00 to 7.00 range. When the horn blew at the end of the heat, Adriano got the nudge with a 6.83 and a 7.00. It was a great result for Bede, who has had an uncharacteristically bad year on tour, and matched his best result of the season with an equal 3rd finish.
As the sun started to set, the finals were on. Kelly versus Adriano in perfect backlit barrels on an orange sea. Luckily for Adriano, the waves leveled the playing field. And it was Adriano that caught the best wave of the heat in the first 5 minutes resulting in a 9.00. Kelly had his chances. On one of the lefts, Kelly weaved through a solid tube and screamed out onto the flats and ducked under the next section. If he would have made it out of that second section he would have got the score. Adriano followed it up with a 6.67, which was enough to take the win.
No tears from Adriano on the podium this time. De Souza was chaired up the beach by fellow Brazilians Raoni Monteiro and Heitor Alves and hoisted the giant trophy over his head for the second time this year. The win moves Adriano into 3rd place on the ratings and a mere 3200 points behind Owen Wright.
Next stop on the ASP Tour will be in the good ole U.S. of A. at San Francisco’s heavy beachbreak Ocean Beach for the Rip Curl Pro Search. With no jetski assist allowed for this event (much to the surprise of Rip Curl), the Rip Curl Pro Search will be a battle of attrition. If the waves are over 6 feet, paddling out will bring a whole new meaning to the word fitness. We might see guys with long arms like Owen Wright and Dan Ross ruling the lineup. Regardless, the event will be the first World Tour event north of Trestles and should be quite entertaining. – Ryan Richardson
Watch this video of the final below.
All photos courtesy ASP Images.