After two runner-up finishes this year and another one last year at the opening event of the 2007 ASP world championship tour, Adriano de Souza, the young upstart from Brazil, finally won his first world tour.
Ironically he won the Billabong pro in Mundaka, Spain, a dominant left-point break. It’s ironic because de Souza as a young amateur surfer competed in his first contest before he had ever surfed a wave going left.
In a bit of a Cinderella story, it was a fast-charging Chris Davidson from Narrabeen, Australia, who made his first finals appearance and skyrocketed to 20th in the current ASP world rankings. Those who follow surfing knew of Davidson’s backside surfing prowess as he was born and raised on Narrabeen, another dominant left-breaking wave.
Losing out in the semifinals was the ever-legendary Kelly Slater and CJ Hobgood, who both missed big opportunities to make up ground and further move up the tour ratings, as both Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson lost out early. Parkinson finished equal 17th for the third consecutive event and Fanning finished equal ninth after two back to back wins.
As the tour now moves to Peniche, Portugal, with two events remaining, it’s looking like a two-man race between Parkinson and Fanning, who has now taken the ratings lead over Parkinson.
However, the rest of the top 10 surfers technically are all still in contention for this year’s world title race. The current rankings are as follows:
1. Fanning, 2. Parkinson, 3. de Souza, 4. Hobgood, 5. Bede Durbridge.
Predictions for Peniche: Look for Slater to put the pressure on and keep the title race alive and well going into the final event at his favorite wave — the Banzai, Pipeline.
Other favorites to win in Portugal: Fanning, Durbridge and local favorite Tiago Pires. If the surf is big and hollow, look for Kieren Perrow to also be in contention for his first tour victory.
Until next week: stay healthy, keep surfing.
JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. His websites include AlohaSchoolofSurfing and ECOWarrior Surf.com. He can be reached at Jamo@Aloha SchoolofSurfing.com