Adriano de Souza claimed his inaugural ASP World Tour win today at the Billabong Pro Mundaka, eliminating fellow Finalist Chris Davidson in punchy two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the backup venue of Sopelana.
Stop No. 8 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Mundaka experienced an array of conditions for the event, from clean surf on the opening day to a lengthy seven-day wait before a marathon 24-heat session yesterday, culminating in today's dramatic finale.
De Souza, who had previously experienced victory in the ASP World Junior Championships (winning in 2003) and on the ASP World Qualifying Series (winning in 2005), was rapt with his inaugural ASP World Tour victory.
“I don’t have words to express how happy I am right now,” de Souza said. “I have been working so hard for this ever since winning the ASP World Junior Championships and the ASP WQS. To finally win here in Mundaka, where the culture is so rich and the people love surfing so much, is an incredible thing. This is the most special day of my life.”
The young Brazilian dominated the crumbling lefthander of Sopelana, racking up an insurmountable 16.40 out of a possible 20 to overtake his Australian opponent, resulting in his history-making win as the first South American to take out the prestigious event.
“The conditions have been hard for this event but we surfed the best waves that were available to us,” de Souza said. “Davo (Chris Davidson) is such a strong surfer and he has been going after a win for so long. When he beat C.J. (Hobgood) in the Semifinals, I knew it was going to be a battle. I was able to get the better waves today and that’s why I won.”
The victory rockets de Souza into a solid 3rd place on the 2009 ASP World Tour ratings, putting him within striking distance for a shot at the ASP World Title. Adriano's Red Bull teammate Mick Fanning currently leads the ASP ratings with two events remaining.
“I’m not thinking about the world title right now,” de Souza said. “I am just enjoying my win. This is the biggest win of my career and I have a lot of confidence heading into the next events.”
Highlights from the Billabong Pro Mundaka are available here.
Next stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour will be the Rip Curl Pro Search in Peniche, Portugal from 19 – 28, 2009. For more information, check out the ASP World Tour site.
CURRENT ASP WORLD TOUR TOP 10 (After Billabong Pro Mundaka):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6350 points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 6306 points
3. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5773 points
4. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 5748 points
5. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5524 points
6. Kelly Slater (USA) 5514 points
7. Taj Burrow (AUS) 5149 points
8. Bobby Martinez (USA) 4914 points
9. Taylor Knox (USA) 4816 points
10. Damien Hobgood (USA) 4794 points