Adriano de Souza (BRA) capped off his stellar run on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) Australian leg with the big win at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. After competing in all eight rounds of the event, De Souza defeated John John Florence (HAW) in an intense, high-scoring finale.
Along the way, De Souza triumphed over 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater (USA) and Taj Burrow (AUS), who was the only Semifinalist to have won previously at Margaret River. Most importantly, though, he will head to the Oi Rio Pro No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I’ve just beaten the best surfer on the planet! I’m so happy and I feel so motivated. After reaching the Final in Bells and not winning I was really spurred on. It’s such an honor to put my name on the stairs here. Every morning I walk down them and see those names and just wish that my name would be there some day.”
Before the Final, each surfer had his own set of advantages that might have suggested a win in Western Oz: As of the Semifinals, Florence's event heat average was 15.51, versus De Souza's 13.36. And while De Souza has four career CT victories to Florence's two, the Brazilian hasn't seen the top of the podium in two years. Florence, meanwhile, won in France last October, and has asserted a renewed commitment to becoming a World Champion. But so far this year, it has been De Souza with the momentum, including a third-place finish at Snapper Rocks and a runner-up finish at Bells.
Once the pair paddled out it was De Souza drew first blood, going rail to rail and finishing with a frontside float for an 8.93. Florence earned rides in the seven-point range for aggressive rail work and committed laybacks but he was unable to find a clean finish. Meanwhile, De Souza found a wave that was like his opener to force his opponent to hunt down a near-perfect score going into the back half of the 40-minute Final.
Florence found a 9.00 when he ultimately did stomp out a closeout section cleanly, but his two-wave total ultimately came up short. Still, his runner-up finish has him leaving Oz in the Top 10.
FINAL NOTES: Reigning World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) is now out of the Top 10.
Nat Young (USA) who lost to Florence in the Semifinals, has broken into the Top 5 for the first time in his career.
Catch the Top 34 next in Brazil, when they battle at the Oi Rio Pro May 11-22.