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.

Look at this wave! This is what competitors have been waiting for all year. Damien Hobgood pinches himself.
Supertubos is primarily a left, and it showed it's best form during this year's event.
For the first time this year, the judges didn't make any grievous errors that disgusted the surf world. Could the guys in the booth finally be getting a clue?
Perfect peaks broke so close to shore that often times competitors would complete their ride with a run up the sand.

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.

Bede Durbidge returned to form at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal and posted the events first 10-point ride on this wave just before sunset.
Julian Wilson had a great campaign on the European Leg of the World Tour posting a 2nd place in France and an equal 5th place in Portugal. With these results, Julian has a lock on the Rookie-of-the-Year crown.
Heitor Alves continued his late season surge up the rankings with a 5th place finish in Portugal. It's too bad he injured himself in the Azores and could not compete in France.
Although Jordy Smith got a few kegs in the early rounds, he eventually fell to Fred Patacchia in Round 3.
Kai Otton screams past the crowd on a right in Round 3.
There were plenty of fans in Peniche to keep the corporate interests of the ASP happy and content. All is fine and dandy when there is swell.
John John Florence posted his best result in his third event on the World Tour with an equal 9th place.

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!

Slater was a major player throughout the entire event. Here he gets shacked on yet another draining right.

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.

Slater kept it close in the final, but didn't get a bomb like Adriano's. With the second place result, it will be highly unlikely that Owen will be able to stop him from capturing his 11th World Title.
Adriano surfed smart and strong in Portugal. If he had not received a last place the week prior in France, then he would be in second place on the ratings.

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.

Thousands of fans stayed untill the last moment on a weekday no less. A very passionate and vocal fan base gives the Peniche area bragging rights as Europe's surf mecca.
Adriano gets a hug and props from fellow Brazilians Jadson Andre and Gabriel Medina. These are the last three Brazilians to win an ASP World Tour event (Jadson in 2010, Gabriel in 2011, and Adriano twice in 2011).

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.

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