18 December, 2015 18 December, 2015

Adriano de Souza Wins World Title and Pipe Masters

In a tense final day at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Adriano de Souza (BRA) kept his focus and momentum going all the way to clinch not only his maiden world title, but also become the first Brazilian to lift the Pipe Masters trophy as well. Adriano beat compatriot Gabriel Medina in the fading swell to claim the trophy and the title. And by defeating Mick Fanning in the semi finals, Gabriel capped off a fine day for the Brazilian fans by winning the Vans Triple Crown.

Adriano de Souza claimed his maiden world title after ten years on the Dream Tour.

Few would have bet against Mick Fanning (AUS) clinching his fourth world title after his performance on the penultimate day, when he beat two of the best ever at Pipe to move into the quarter finals. Adriano, meanwhile, was keeping the pace on the other side of the draw and matched Mick step-by-step (although not quite as convincingly). Gabriel Medina was also in with a long shot at the title, which was remarkable considering the wobbly start to his title defence.

Gabriel was the first of the title contenders to test the waters on the final day, when he faced CJ Hobgood (USA) in the quarter finals. The Brazilian loves to get the first good score on the board in a heat, and he had CJ on the ropes early with a well-surfed left that scored an even 8.00pts for a long, technical tube and air reverse to finish. CJ fought his way back with a mid-range score, but earned an interference when he went desperately looking for the score he needed to beat the Brazilian. While Gabriel moved on to the next round, it was hard not to feel the emotion as CJ was chaired up the beach by his peers for the last time as he retires from competitive surfing.

Mick Fanning narrowly missed out on clinching his fourth world title.

Mick Fanning had the tough task of defeating Kelly Slater (USA) again in the second quarter final, and it was close in the end. But Mick moved on to the semi finals after he got the score in the dying seconds on his last wave that luckily came his way – knocking Gabriel out of the title race in the process, but having to face the outgoing world champ in his next heat.

This left only Adriano de Souza in the title race along with Mick, and similarly the Brazilian found a wave he thanked the heavens for in the fading moments of his match-up with Josh Kerr (AUS) to move through to the next round and put the pressure back on Fanning.

Gabriel defeated Mick with an epic air reverse (not a tube) at Pipe.

The waves had really deteriorated at this point, and instead of a grinding Pipe barrel it was in fact a radical fully-rotated air reverse that won the heat for Gabriel over Mick in the first semi-final. Mick still held the ratings lead, however, and Adriano was going to need to defeat wildcard Mason Ho (HAW) in the second semi-final to clinch the world title.

It was another low-scoring match-up in the quickly dying swell, but the Brazilian title challenger found the best of what was on offer to clinch an emotional world title victory, with the final still to surf against Gabriel.

Gabriel hands over the WSL Championship Tour trophy to Adriano.

Adriano gave an emotional victory speech.

Following a quick celebration of his maiden world title, Adriano paddled out to do battle with Gabriel with the Pipe Masters trophy on the line. Like he so often does, Gabriel put the first score on the board. It was only a 4.00 though, and Adriano answered back with a great barrel at Backdoor to earn the highest score of the final – 7.67pts.

Gabriel tried but failed to find a meaningful score to put the pressure on Adriano, who cruised to victory in the end – his reward; the world title and Pipe Masters crown that he has worked so hard for over the past decade on the Championship Tour. A well-deserved first world title for the Brazilian battler.

Go to worldsurfleague.com for all the results, heat reviews and highlights from the Billabong Pipe Masters.

Billabong Pipe Masters Results:

1) Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 14.07
2) Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 8.50

Semi Final Heat 1
1) Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 11.33
2) Mick Fanning (AUS) – 10.36

Semi Final Heat 2
1) Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 6.83
2) Mason Ho (HAW) – 3.83

Quarter Final Heat 1
1) Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 11.67
2) CJ Hobgood (USA) – 4.67 (interference)

Quarter Final Heat 2
1) Mick Fanning (AUS) – 9.50
2) Kelly Slater (USA) – 6.17

Quarter Final Heat 3
1) Mason Ho (HAW) – 8.03
2) Adam Melling (AUS) – 4.53

Quarter Final Heat 4
1) Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 5.50
2) Josh Kerr (AUS) – 4.43

2015 WSL Championship Tour Top 10:
1) Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 57,700pts
2) Mick Fanning (AUS) – 54,650pts
3) Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 51,600pts
4) Filipe Toledo (BRA) – 50,950pts
5) Owen Wright (AUS) – 43,600pts
6) Julian Wilson (AUS) – 42,700pts
7) Italo Ferreira (BRA) – 41,600pts
8) Jeremy Flores (FRA) – 41,200pts
9) Kelly Slater (USA) – 37,600pts
10) Nat Young (USA) – 33,200pts

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