Aussie beats Brazilian at ASP
WESTERN Australia's perennial World Tour veteran Taj Burrow won a hard-fought final against Brazil's Adriano de Souza at Snapper Rocks resembling a beach scene out of Ipanema beach rolled into Bondi.
In the semi's De Souza defeated Coolangatta's Josh Kerr while Burrow took down South African powerhouse Jordy Smith to make the finals.
Burrow wore down a fired up De Souza who came out of the blocks with an excellent score of an 8 point ride out of 10 and dominated the final up until the half way mark.
Then the White Hornet from Yallingup struck back with 9.43 out of 10 to steal the lead.
De Souza was still in with a chance but exhaustion was evident when he fell on a couple of vital waves.
The Brazilian is such a fighter and with two minutes to go gave it one last shot needing a 7.87 to overhaul Burrow but the 25 year old Brazilian came up short with a 7.5.
"It was nerve wracking as the first event of the year and the incentive to surf my favourite break kept me going," Burrow said.
Burrow won in 2010 and was runner-up to Kelly Slater last year.
" It was a close final, Adriano is a top competitor.
"I'm on top of the World and would like to thank my trainer Tony Gannon for keeping me fit mentally and physically."
The 33-year-old has been touted as a future World Champion since arriving on the Tour back in 1999.
It was one of the biggest capacity packed crowds ever seen at Snapper Rocks for the ASP World tour opener.
Passionate Brazilian fans waded into the water's edge waving their country's green, gold and blue flags like Carnivale had come to the beach.
When Adriano won the World Professional Junior title in 2002 he couldn't speak a word of English and enrolled in a Coolangatta English speaking school and more importantly got acquainted to the Snapper Rocks Super Bank.
Last year the young Brazilian was pipped at the post by Taj Burrow in the semi's despite posting a couple of 9 point rides.
In 2009 he was thrashed in the final by Joel Parkinson at cyclonic Kirra Point.
Last year Adriano momentarily lead the World ratings as the first ever Brazilian to do so but ended up 5th in the World.
He has been considered Brazil's best chance at a World title and has obviously given hope to a bunch of Brazil nuts with seven other incredibly talented pro surfers, the most ever from South America on the ASP World Tour.
Like the women, the men will now have a break before heading south to the wetsuit waters of Victoria and Bells Beach for the Rip Curl Easter Pro.
As for 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater who was beaten by Josh Kerr in the 1.4 finals he refused to say whether he would commit to Bells or quit when interviewed on the live webcast.
"How many times do I have to say that when I ready to quit I'll tell you," the King snapped at the question.
"I'll go surfing and think about it over some good waves and figure out what I'll do."
The old "keep 'em guessing" reply that's Slater trademark!