The ASP World Tour rolls into Imbituba, Brazil this weekend for the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina – the third stop on this year’s tour – with Adriano de Souza, Jordy Smith and Mick Fanning all expected to challenge.
Local boy Souza carries the expectations of the home fans, and will be hoping to go one batter than last year when he lost in the Final to nine-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 22-year-old has made a steady start to the tour with two fifth place finishes, and he will be helped by the progressive scoring in Brazil.
"This beachbreak can be so fickle, but can also deliver great waves as it has multiple peaks." –Jordy Smith
South African Smith has made a promising start to the new season, holding down the current World number three spot after finishing second and fifth in the first two events. He will be hoping his penchant for high-flying aerials and fin-free combinations will reap dividends in Imbituba.
"The thing about the waves in Brazil is that they are very much like our waves in South Africa," the 22–year–old said. "This beachbreak can be so fickle, but can also deliver great waves as it has multiple peaks. You just have to hope that you're in synch with the ocean and score a heat that is on."
Mick Fanning is also in good form. The reigning world champion heads to South America after finishing second at Bells Beach; he also likes Brazil, having won his first ASP World Tour title here in 2007.
"It was good to get a strong result at Bells, as I was disappointed in the Quik Pro,” Fanning said. "It's still the early days, but consistency is always key. I feel very comfortable in Brazil; I've been on a Reef promo shoot in Panama so I'm accustomed to the Central/South American water and prepared for Brazil."
With the mid-year Top 32 cut-off looming, Tiago Pires and Michel Bourez will also be looking for strong showings in Santa Catarina. A good result in Brazil could see the pair – currently 13th and 19th, respectively – cement their place for the second half of the season.
For the latest from the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina, check out aspworldtour.com.