Brazilian surfer Adriano De Souza scored a memorable victory over an in-form Kelly Slater in Peniche's barrelling Supertubos at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Slater had looked invincible heading to the final, accounting for Taj Burrow and Heitor Alves earlier in the day but De Souza took the early intiative in the final, scoring big to put the pressure on the reigning champion and tour leader. Slater dug deep and turned on the style but couldn't find that perfect wave to get himself back in front.
The young Brazilian opened up with a solid forehand barrel to secure a 9.00 out of a possible 10 and pile pressure on defending champion. Slater answered with two solid scores of his own, but De Souza came back in the final minutes to nail the competiton 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.
'Kelly has been my hero since I ever heard about surfing' - Adriano De Souza
“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 barrelled 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.”
- Watch highlights of the Rip Curl Pro Portugal
- Official ASP World Tour website
- More surfing at redbull.com