Adriano de Souza wins Billabong Rio Pro

It has come to this. A battle of international proportions. The bronzed aussies in one corner, the passionate brazilians in all the other corners. Each country has their best small wave wizard in the water. Taj Burow vs Adriano de Souza. The competitors area is divided into 2 camps. The final.

The fans have packed the beach, not a grain of sand is visible. The frenzied crowd cheers Adriano’s every wiggle and Taj’s every fall. This is Brazil.

The waves are similar to yesterday, fast zippery lefts with a lot of closeouts. Taj would draw first blood with two big lipslide snaps on a fast left for a 7.00. At this point Taj takes priority as the ocean goes flat for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile Adriano gets a small left under Taj’s priority and whips 3 quick snaps in rapid succession. An 8.00 is announced to screams on the beach. Taj continues to wait for a runner to no avail.

Then De Souza picks off a wide left and starts with a big projection floater, followed up by a vertical flick. He puts both fists into the sky. The beach goes mental. He gets a 7.63. The crowd smells aussie blood.

Taj would never get a chance to recover, as he spent the closing minutes searching the lineup for a wave that didn’t come.

With this victory, Adriano moves into number one in the world.

1 Adriano de Souza BRA 15.63
2 Taj Burrow AUS 12.17

The heats leading up to the final had their share of drama as well. In fact, many people who are not Brazilian are claiming that Adriano should have lost to Owen Wright in their quarterfinal heat. Adriano got an 8 from the judges for one floater. Needing a 6.7, Owen strokes into a small left as time expires, he does one quick turn followed by a clean frontside slob air. Owen thinks he has it. 6.60. He is furious as the beach erupts in cheers.

In his round 5 clash with Adriano, Tahiti’s Michel Bourez, who has been en fuego in this contest, came down wrong on a big floater, apparently tweaking his shoulder. He would be carried in on a wave runner, and leave the beach on a stretcher. Hopefully he is healthy for J-Bay which starts in mid July, as he was a standout in last year’s event when the waves were pumping.