Brazilian Adriano de Souza confirmed why he is the best surfer on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) this year by winning the first ever Rip Curl Super Series pro contest in dominating fashion in Seignosse, France today.
The 18-year-old has surfed at an exceptional level all week and today defeated fellow countryman Odirlei Coutinho to claim the prestigious title and US$20,000 first place cheque.
De Souza has had an unbelievable season and sits well ahead of his competition atop the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) WQS Ratings. With the 3000 points from this event taking his season total to 13128, it looks certain the world will see the young superstar on the World Championship Tour (WCT) in 2006.
“I am so happy and I want to thank everyone,” said de Souza. “I want to thank Rip Curl for doing such a great event. They made this Super Series event and it is so important to the WQS season. I am so stoked to be the first winner of a Super Series contest.”
The Brazilian finalists were two of 144 international surfers to compete in the Super Series at the beach break of Les Bourdaines in Seignosse since competition started last Monday. But after six days of contest surfing and the best waves of Europe’s summer season, the spotlight was well and truly fixed on the duo when the final siren sounded.
De Souza’s final performance today was testament to his exceptional talents and a fitting end to this season’s biggest WQS contest. He controlled the 35-minute final from the starting seconds, posting a stellar 8.83 points (out of 10) on his very first wave. Several minutes later he all but sealed the win when he scored a near-perfect 9.93 ride to total 18.76 points for the heat. The two-wave combined heat score was the highest of the event.
“The waves were so good for this contest,” said de Souza. “Really good scoring waves and great conditions for the finals.”
For Coutinho, aged 26, his second place finish at this week’s event is his most important result of the year. The Super Series offers more qualifying points and more prize money than any other contest on the tour, and Coutinho’s result has moved him to 29th on the ratings.
“I am so excited and stoked to make the final here in Hossegor,” said Coutinho. “Thank you for the contest and to Adriano for his win.”
Although de Souza was somewhat untouchable all event, Australian Adrian Buchan (rated 3rd on the WQS) was one competitor who looked capable of overcoming the Brazilian. The 22-year-old NSW surfer was a standout all week, posting several commanding wins in his charge to the finals. His run came to an end in semi-final 1 though, losing to the 2003 World Pro Junior Champion 17.57 points to 12.47.
WCT surfer Paulo Moura (BRZ) was the other semi-finalist, using his experience to overcome yesterday’s ‘Perfect 10 man’ Rodrigo Dornelles* (BRZ) in quarter-final 4 this morning.
All of the quarter-finals were held today, USA surfer Bobby Martinez and Australians Daniel Ross and Jay Thompson joining Dornelles on the =5th place elimination list.
Europe’s highest placed competitor was local Capbreton surfer Mikael Picon. Unfortunately for his home crowd, the 26-year-old was eliminated by Buchan in Heat 2 of round 5 yesterday. His =9th place still earned him 1500 points and moved him from 12th to 10th in the WQS ratings.
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