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Adriano de Souza Crowned 2015 World Surfing Champion

December 19th, 2015 No comments
Adriano De Souza carried up the beach after clinching the 2015 WSL Title Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Adriano De Souza carried up the beach after clinching the 2015 WSL Title Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Independent On Saturday – 19 December 2015

By Paul Botha

Brazilian Adriano de Souza completed a spectacular year on the World Surf League Championship Tour when he was crowned the 2015 World Surfing Champion and won the season-ending Billabong Pipe Masters at the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii on Thursday.

Having never previously advanced beyond the last 16 in 10 years of trying at Pipeline, de Souza’s incredible work ethic saw him enlist the aid of Hawaiian standout Jamie O’Brien and spend literally thousands of hours in the hallowed, hollow tubes of the iconic break to improve his knowledge and expertise.

Practice makes perfect and he battled giant waves and the world’s best surfers before outsurfing compatriot and defending World Champion, Gabriel Medina, in really tricky 1-1.5m waves in the final, becoming the first Brazilian to claim the Pipeline Masters title.

The 28 year-old’s journey to the top award in surfing began in the dusty streets of a favela (township) in Guaruja in the south of Brazil when his older brother bought him a surfboard for seven Dollars in 1998 at age nine. Within three years he had qualified for the Brazilian team that competed in the Quicksilver ISA World Surfing Games in Durban in 2001, where he made an instant impact by posting a perfect 10 point score on the opening day.

Going on to reach the final in the under-18 division of the event, de Souza’s already apparent uber competitiveness led to him dropping in on local favourite Ricky Basnett, leaving the Brazilian with an interference penalty and a minor placing, but hindering Basnett’s chances and handing the World Junior title to Durbanite Warwick Wright.

Returning two months later to compete in the Mr Price Pro, the 13-year-old was detained by customs officials at Durban Airport for ten hours when a communications mishap resulting in his sponsor’s representative not being there to collect him. De Souza was unable to explain what he was doing in South Africa or where he was going as he did not know a word of English!

He qualified for Championship Tour, the global series of events in which the top 32 ranked surfers compete for the annual World Title, by winning the Qualifying series in 2005 with what was then the highest point total ever.

Finishing 2006 ranked 20th and just re-qualifying in 28th spot in 2007, he then became a fixture in the top 10 for the next five years before slumping to 13th in 2013, rising to 8th last year, and now he’s achieved his lifelong dream by becoming the World Surfing Champion!

Medina, who looked unbeatable at Pipeline, ended rankings frontrunner Mick Fanning’s path to a fourth World Title with a highflying aerial manoeuvre in their semifinal encounter on Thursday. Although he could not repeat that in the final against de Souza, Medina nevertheless became the first Brazilian to clinch the coveted Triple Crown of Surfing title for accumulating the highest points total through the three Hawaiian events at Haleiwa, Sunset Beach and Pipeline.

De Souza, Medina, Filipe Toledo and the rest of the aptly named Brazilian Storm completely dominated the World Surf League this year, winning six of the 11 event titles on the Championship Tour. And Italo Ferreira won the 2015 WSL Rookie of the Year title by ending the season ranked No. 7 while Caio Ibelli clinched top spot on the Qualifying Series rankings. The 2016 season is going to be really interesting!

ENDS

Adriano De Souza Claims 2015 WSL Title at Pipeline

December 18th, 2015 No comments
Adriano de Souza (BRA) hoists the trophy after claiming the 2015 WSL Title Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Adriano de Souza (BRA) hoists the trophy after claiming the 2015 WSL Title Photo: WSL / Kirstin

– Brazilian Clinches Maiden World Title After 10 Years on Tour
– Back-To-Back WSL Titles for Brazil
– De Souza Becomes First Brazilian Pipe Masters Champion
– Medina Clinches Triple Crown Title
BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, December 17, 2015) – After what can only be called the most dramatic day in pro surfing history, Brazilian Adriano de Souza (BRA) has clinched the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Title at the world-renowned Banzai Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii. In the process, he also became the first Brazilian to win the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.

Surfing for ten years amongst the world’s elite and setting the stage for the rise of the ‘Brazilian Storm,’ De Souza’s Title clinching performance came with a significant wave of emotions, as he dedicated the victory to fallen compatriot Ricardo dos Santos who died earlier this year.

“It’s an incredible feeling and so special in dedication to my good friend Ricardo dos Santos,” de Souza said. “I have this tattoo in memory of him — he had the same tattoo that said ‘Strength, Balance and Love,’ and that’s all I needed to win this World Title. This is all in dedication to my brother as well, who bought me my first surfboard for seven dollars and now I’m on top of the world.”

“What a dream to be a Pipeline Masters Champion like Jamie [O’Brien] and Kelly [Slater] and Bede Durbidge, just so many names going through my brain. There’s no words to describe how I’m feeling right now.”

The final day of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour began with three contenders in the hunt for the world surfing crown – Mick Fanning (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA) and de Souza. Fanning’s Quarterfinal win over 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) ousted Medina from the race, but a huge aerial manoeuvre from Medina late in their Semifinal eliminated the Australian from competition, leaving the way open for compatriot De Souza to claim the World Title.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) completed this aerial manoeuvre in the last minute of their Semifinal to oust Mick Fanning (AUS) from the Title race Photo: WSL / Masurel

Gabriel Medina (BRA) completed this aerial manoeuvre in the last minute of their Semifinal to oust Mick Fanning (AUS) from the Title race Photo: WSL / Masurel

Taking down explosive wildcard in Mason Ho (HAW) in their Semifinal duel, de Souza claimed the coveted World Title after a loss earlier in the year at the Moche Rip Curl Pro had him doubting his chances heading into Pipeline.

“About midway through the year I thought Mick deserved the World Title more than me,” de Souza said. “He’s such a strong man and a three-time World Champ battling me for my first title was scary. I just want to give my best wishes to Mick and his mom — I had such a mix of emotions, but the day of my life has arrived.”

Mick Fanning (AUS) on his Quarterfinal winning wave against Kelly Slater (USA). Photo: WSL / Masurel

Mick Fanning (AUS) on his Quarterfinal winning wave against Kelly Slater (USA). Photo: WSL / Masurel

Fanning came into Pipeline having won his first-ever Hawaiian event at the Vans World Cup of Surfing and looked to be the favourite to win the World Title. But after being eliminated by Medina, his Title chances were left in the hands of Ho, who couldn’t seal it for the three-time WSL Champion despite Fanning’s incredible win over Kelly Slater (USA).

“The energy’s been amazing walking down to the shore,” Fanning said. “I’m almost in tears every time I‘ve paddled out and I’m just kind of going with the emotions. I had a friend tell me once that we can do anything and you just have to do it the best you can and stay true to yourself and things will happen.”

Claiming runner-up status at the Billabong Pipe Masters for the second consecutive year and the first Brazilian to earn a Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title, Gabriel Medina (BRA) achieved a phenomenal comeback after a tough start to 2015. Turning his season around at the Billabong Pro Tahiti with a runner-up finish, the 2014 WSL Champion stood proud hoisting his well-deserved trophy.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) hoists the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing trophy Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Gabriel Medina (BRA) hoists the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing trophy Photo: WSL / Kirstin

“I’m really stoked to be the first Brazilian to win a Triple Crown – it was actually my goal coming to Hawaii,” Medina said. “This year has been difficult for me when I lost in the first four events and everyone said I wouldn’t have a shot at the World Title. I’m so thankful to come here and be a part of the World Title race. I’m so happy to make the Final, it was a tough heat against Mick and I got the score I needed in the last minute and I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m so excited for Adriano to win his first World Title and Pipe Master – I know he’s been dreaming for ages and he did everything he could.”

It was Medina who ended C.J. Hobgood’s (USA) final run at a Pipe Master title in their Quarterfinal, handing the 2001 World Champion a fifth place finish in his last WSL Championship Tour competition. The 36-year-old Florida native spent 17 years on the dream tour – giving fans and fellow competitors so many fond memories to look back on.

“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life surrounding myself with, who I think, are not only the best surfers in the world, but the best humans,” Hobgood said. “I think this surfing platform is not just better than when I started, it’s 1,000 percent better, so I’m happy to leave.”

“I just want to thank WSL for not only giving me this platform to speak right now but the stage out there to perform and do what I love. I’m fortunate enough that they work with us and continue to work closely with us, and hopefully it just keeps getting better and better because I’m going to be at home watching – so I’m going to be demanding the best. I just want to thank you guys, I’m stoked to get to work with Salty Crew now – thank you, love you…bye.”

Adriano de Souza (BRA) on his way to claiming the 2015 WSL Title during his Semifinal win over Mason Ho (HAW) Photo: WSL / Cestari

Adriano de Souza (BRA) on his way to claiming the 2015 WSL Title during his Semifinal win over Mason Ho (HAW) Photo: WSL / Cestari

De Souza’s 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL CT Results:
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: 3rd
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach: 2nd
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro: WINNER
Oi Rio Pro: 13th
Fiji Pro: 13th
J-Bay Open: 5th
Billabong Pro Tahiti: 13th
Hurley Pro at Trestles: 2nd
Quiksilver Pro France: 3rd
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal: 13th
Billabong Pipe Masters: WINNER

De Souza joins Carissa Moore (HAW) as 2015 WSL Champion; Moore won her title at Maui earlier this month.

“December 2015 has been the biggest month ever in the history of professional surfing,” said Paul Speaker, CEO of the World Surf League. “The Billabong Pipe Masters achieved the largest audience and greatest live viewership in the history of the sport, and we are so grateful to the athletes, fans and our partners for delivering a season to remember.”

“Our congratulations go out to Adriano de Souza on an incredible Pipeline performance and first World Title, as well as maiden Pipe Masters title, and Gabriel Medina for claiming Brazil’s first Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. We’d also like to extend our deepest condolences to the Fanning family on their tragic loss, and best wishes to Bede Durbidge and Owen Wright, their families, on their serious injuries toward a full recovery.”

The world’s best surfers will return in 2016 with the kick-off event at Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia in March.

For more information, log onto www.WorldSurfLeague.com

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS FINAL RESULTS:
1- Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.07
2- Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.50

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.33 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.86
SF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 6.83 def. Mason Ho (HAW) 3.83

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.67 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.67
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.17
QF 3: Mason Ho (HAW) 8.03 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 4.53
QF 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 5.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 4.43

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.34 def. John John Florence (HAW) 9.76
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.07 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.77
Heat 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 5.17 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4.20
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.83 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.73

SAMSUNG GALAXY CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR – FINAL RANKINGS
1 Adriano De Souza (BRA) 57700
2 Mick Fanning (AUS) 54650
3 Gabriel Medina (BRA) 51600
4 Filipe Toledo (BRA) 50950
5 Owen Wright (AUS) 43600
6 Julian Wilson (AUS) 42700
7 Italo Ferreira (BRA) 41600
8 Jeremy Flores (FRA) 41200
9 Kelly Slater (USA) 37600
10 Nat Young (USA) 33200

28 Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15200

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images are available to Media Outlets on request

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

High Drama for WSL Title Showdown at Billabong Pipe Masters

December 17th, 2015 No comments
Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action at Pipeline. Photo: WSL / Cestari

Jordy Smith (ZAF) in action at Pipeline. Photo: WSL / Cestari

– Toledo & Wilson Eliminated; Fanning, De Souza & Medina Remain in Hunt
– South Africa’s Jordy Smith Eliminated in Round 3
– Massive Surf Sees Perfect Performances & Punishing Injuries
– Forecast Indicates Explosive Season Finale for Thursday

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Wednesday, December 16, 2015) – A phenomenal day of the world’s best surfers battling solid eight-to-ten foot (2.5 – 3 metre) waves at the Banzai Pipeline has whittled the WSL Title contenders down to three and the Billabong Pipe Masters contenders down to nine, setting up an epic finish to the 2015 season on Thursday.

The final stop of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour season as well as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (a WSL Specialty Series) and the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons enjoyed a marathon day of competition, witnessing perfect scores and terrifying injuries from the world’s best surfers.

The World Title race is now down to three competitors as current Jeep Rankings’ Leader Mick Fanning (AUS), Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) are through to the Quarterfinals. Julian Wilson (AUS) and World No.2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) are both out of title contention, having been eliminated from competition in Round 3.

Medina eliminated South Africa’s Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the first heat of the day. Reading the unsettled early morning conditions perfectly, the 2014 World Champion dodged the massive sets that rolled through from the Third Reef and then picked off the waves that enabled him to get deep inside, and emerge from, hollow spitting barrels.

The 13th place finish leaves Smith, who was ranked No. 29 on the Jeep rankings leaderboard going into the season-ending event, well outside the Top 22 who will qualify for the 2016 WSL Championship Tour. However, the South African is the frontrunner for the annual WSL injury wildcard after missing five events while recovering from leg and back injuries this year.

Rankings frontrunner Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to winning his Round 3 heat. Photo: WSL / Cestari

Rankings frontrunner Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to winning his Round 3 heat. Photo: WSL / Cestari

Fanning, who woke to the devastating news that his eldest brother had passed away overnight back in Australia, came into the most anticipated heat of Round 3, facing off against 2004 Pipe Masters champion Jamie O’Brien (HAW) in building Pipeline conditions. Finding an 8.47 on his opening ride, Fanning held off O’Brien for the majority of the heat – combo’ing the former Pipe Master by the final horn.

“It was always going to be a difficult heat with Jamie [O’Brien] being one of the best guys out here and surfing it the most,” Fanning said. “I just got lucky at the start when Michel [Bourez] and Kelly [Slater] sort of let me go on that first one and I just kept trying to improve that backup score.”

After overcoming the challenge presented by O’Brien, Fanning drew two Pipeline specialists in Kelly Slater (USA) and John John Florence (HAW) for an incredible Round 4 match-up. After what pundits are calling “the heat of the year,” with all three surfers exchanging high scores, Fanning came out on top with a 17.30 heat total to earn his place in the Quarterfinals.

“I can’t really put it into words,” Fanning said. “When you’re paddling out against John John [Florence] and Kelly [Slater], two of the greatest tube riders, I just thought that when the waves come, I’ll do my best. It’s been a huge day. I’ve got some personal stuff going on at home. It’s so heavy to talk about right now and I’m just trying to focus on the water.”

Keeping pace with Fanning, current World No.3 Adriano de Souza (BRA) earned a direct pass to his first Pipe Masters Quarterfinal appearance after surviving a Round 3 bout with Glenn Hall (IRL) and coming out on top in Round 4 over Josh Kerr (AUS) and Adam Melling (AUS). The 10-year CT veteran is seeking a maiden WSL Title and knows exactly what needs to be done.

“I feel blessed for the day we have had and I’m so happy to make the two heats – it’s an incredible feeling to make the Quarterfinals and keep my World Title dreams alive,” De Souza said. “There are a lot of people talking and I’m not really worried about it. Basically I just need to do my job out there, find my waves and get out of the barrels – that’s my focus out here and it definitely has improved. The last few years I’ve put in a lot of work over here and I just wanted to get the result today.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA) on his way to the Quarterfinals Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Gabriel Medina (BRA) on his way to the Quarterfinals Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Though his 2015 Title hopes remain slim, reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) looked unbeatable throughout the day. After taking down Smith in the opening heat of Round 3, Medina continued to charge through Round 4 over C.J. Hobgood (USA) and Keanu Asing (HAW).

“I like these type of waves and I don’t feel pressure from the World Title because these guys are a little bit ahead of me,” Medina said. “I just focus on my heat, my job and this is great even though it’s not Finals day, a lot is happening and it’s really exciting.”

Wildcard Mason Ho (HAW) emerges from the barrel Photo: WSL / Masurel

Wildcard Mason Ho (HAW) emerges from the barrel Photo: WSL / Masurel

Mason Ho (HAW), Billabong Pipe Masters wildcard, created a massive upset this morning in eliminating current World No. 2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) from the event and the WSL Title race.

“It didn’t go as I expected but I just figured I would get anything that came and it almost didn’t work out,” Ho said. “Filipe and all these guys on tour are just so smart with the whole game and priority.”

Ho continued his impressive form and opened up Heat 3, Round 4 heat against former Pipe Masters Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) with a 10-point ride, helping the young Hawaiian advance directly into the Quarterfinals.

Toledo’s WSL Title run came to an end after a phenomenal 2015 CT season, claiming three event wins at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, Oi Rio Pro and the Moche Rip Curl Pro – earning a perfect 10 at each contest. The 20-year-old is poised for another big year next season after gaining a wealth of knowledge contending for a Title.

“This has been an amazing year for sure – it’s been the best one of my career,” Toledo said. “I had a lot of fun the whole time with the boys fighting for the World Title and I had my chance. It didn’t happen this year but next year I will be back stronger. It’s my first year competing in the World Title race and just really happy to come to Hawaii with a chance to win.

Julian Wilson (AUS), one of the form surfers of the season, was also eliminated from the 2015 WSL Title race at the hands of compatriot Adam Melling (AUS). Melling, who entered the Billabong Pipe Masters rated 26th, is through to the Quarterfinals and hunting a requalification bid for 2016.

Bede Durbidge (AUS) falls on the take-off on a huge wave at Pipeline Photo: WSL / Masurel

Bede Durbidge (AUS) falls on the take-off on a huge wave at Pipeline Photo: WSL / Masurel

The incredible force of Pipeline was felt today as numerous excellent scores, including three perfect 10 point rides, were posted, but the world-renowned wave also unleashed its wrath with former Pipe Master Bede Durbidge (AUS) suffering a horrific wipeout. After committing to a heavy drop on his opening wave, Durbidge couldn’t hold on and was thrown onto the shallow reef.

“He was taken to the hospital after they were able to get him on the beach and he’s received some scans which revealed two breaks in his pelvis that will require some surgery,” WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow said. “It’s something that you never want to see on a day like today but we all know it’s a possibility of happening. The good news is he will be okay but it’s going to be a recovery process and we just send our best to him and his family.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to reassess conditions. The swell is expected to be trend down through Thursday but to still provide an epic playing field for the tour finale and the crowning of the 2015 WSL Champion.

When competition resumes, up first will be Josh Kerr (AUS) against Jeremy Flores (FRA) in the final heat of Round 5.

Highlights from Wednesday are available at WorldSurfLeague.com where the final day’s action can be watched live, starting at 7.30pm South African time.

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kelly Slater (USA
QF 3: Mason Ho (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
QF 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. TBD

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.34 def. John John Florence (HAW) 9.76
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.07 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.77
Heat 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 5.17 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4.20

REMAINING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 5 MATCH-UP:
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.30, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 5.47, Keanu Asing (HAW) 4.27
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.30, Kelly Slater (USA) 16.47, John John Florence (HAW) 15.16
Heat 3: Mason Ho (HAW) 16.23, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.03, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.24
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.67, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.13, Adam Melling (AUS) 1.43

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.84 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 4.50
Heat 2: Keanu Asing (HAW) 5.00 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 0.17
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 6.74 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.43 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.00
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.14 vs. Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 2.70
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 19.93 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.67
Heat 7: Mason Ho (HAW) 6.93 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.67
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.86 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 5.40
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.44 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.23
Heat 10: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.73 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.16
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.67 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 3.20
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.00 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 4.70

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images are available to Media Outlets on request

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

Mixed Fortunes for World Title Contenders at Billabong Pipe Masters

December 11th, 2015 No comments
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 2001 WSL Champion, posts a Perfect 10 during Round 1 of the Billabong Pipe Masters, his final event on tour. Image: WSL / Kirstin

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 2001 WSL Champion, posts a Perfect 10 during Round 1 of the Billabong Pipe Masters, his final event on tour. Image: WSL / Kirstin

– Fanning and Medina Post Wins : Toledo, De Souza & Wilson Falter
– Hobgood Posts Perfect 10 at Final Career Event
– Owen Wright Withdraws : Jordy Smith Returns

BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, December 10, 2015) – The final stop of the Samsung Galaxy WSL Men’s Championship Tour and Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Billabong Pipe Masters In Memory of Andy Irons, completed the opening round of competition on Thursday in shifting 2.5-3m (eight-to-ten foot) waves at Banzai Pipeline.

With strong trade-winds consistent throughout the day and a predominant North swell on offer, Round 1 had moments of brilliance amidst unruly rip currents sweeping the lineup as the world’s best tackled the world’s most notorious wave.

C.J. Hobgood (USA), the 2001 World Champion who announced 2015 earlier this year that 2015 would be his retirement season, entered the final event of his pro career here at Pipeline. The Floridian came out swinging against Taj Burrow (AUS) and 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA), who between them boast 57 years of experience at the highest level of pro surfing. Hobgood opened his account with a Perfect 10 point ride, finding a near-impossible exit that had the crowd on their feet en route to earning the highest heat total of 14.97.

“Before the heat started I told Kelly it’s been a privilege to grow up in the generation I did – I’ve been surfing against the best surfer my entire life and I know when I’m old I’ll appreciate that,” Hobgood said. “Taj thought he sold me on a crappy wave and Kelly was thinking it didn’t even look that good – and it didn’t look that great to me either, I swear it was just a God thing. Even at the end I just thought it was going to knock me off but it just stayed solid the whole time. It was just an out of body experience.”

Following Owen Wright’s (AUS) withdrawal from competition due to concussion suffered in a free-surf session on Wednesday, the 2015 World Title is now down to five contenders at Pipeline. Leading the charge is Mick Fanning (AUS) who weathered the challenge of 2001 Pipe Master Bruce Irons (HAW) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) with a 9.43 that earned the Jeep Rankings’ Leader a Round 1 victory.

“I was pretty nervous coming up against Bruce and Seabass, they’re some of the best surfers in the world – especially here at Pipeline and I just love both of them,” Fanning said. “We started off so quick and the nerves didn’t really set in once we were in the water but I was stoked to get two quick ones. The next twenty minutes was pretty nerve-racking just because Bruce is capable of anything.

Current World No.4 Gabriel Medina (BRA) increased his odds of earning back-to-back World Titles with a Round 1 victory over Keanu Asing (HAW) and Wade Carmichael (AUS). The 21 year-old reigning world champion looked in-form and poses a serious threat to the Title race with a carefree approach, knowing his chances are narrow.

“It was actually really hard to find the good ones and the wind is pretty tricky toward the middle of the heat so I thought the waves were going to get worse,” Medina said. “But I feel fine getting that 7 which was pretty good and I’m stoked to get through. I’m in a different position than last year but I’ve got some good boards and not worried about the guys fighting for the Title or the Title – I just want to do well and if it happens it will happen. I don’t want to put pressure on myself, just go out and surf.”

While Fanning and Medina are safely through to Round 3, World No.2 Filipe Toledo (BRA), No.3 Adriano De Souza (BRA) and No.7 Julian Wilson (AUS) all face elimination in Round 2 against formidable opponents. De Souza will face the Pipe Invitational Winner Jack Robinson (AUS) in Heat 3 and Wilson has to battle current Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ratings leader Carmichael in Heat 5.

South Africa’s Jordy Smith returned to competition after a five-event injury enforced layoff. Contesting his first heat since the J-Bay Open in July, Smith caught a couple of solid waves but finished runner-up behind 2010 Pipe Masters winner Jeremy Flores (FRA) and faces dangerous rookie Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) in R2.

Organisers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:00am to reassess conditions. Up first, Toledo will be pitted against former Pipe Master Bruce Irons (HAW) in Heat 1, Round 2 when competition commences.

Surfline, Official Forecasters for the World Surf League, are calling for:

The surf fades through Friday as trades also ease. Small NW swell prevails over the weekend, with much lighter wind. Confidence is increasing that a strong NW swell will build in through the middle part of next week as trades also rebuild.

The Billabong Pipe Masters will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL app starting from 7.30 pm South African time daily.

BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.26, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.33, Glenn Hall (IRL) 1.70
Heat 2: Mason Ho (HAW) 6.17, Jadson Andre (BRA) 5.70, Dusty Payne (HAW) 1.70
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.84, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 3.73
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.33, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 7.23, Jack Robinson (AUS) 5.06
Heat 5: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 8.06, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.84, Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.50
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.60, Bruce Irons (HAW) 14.33, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.37
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.40, Julian Wilson (AUS) 3.84, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 3.10
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.27, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.17, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 3.94
Heat 9: CJ Hobgood (USA) 14.97, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.26, Kelly Slater (USA) 9.80
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW) 13.33, Nat Young (USA) 6.67, Brett Simpson (USA) 1.50
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 2.84, Adam Melling (AUS) 1.14, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 1.10
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.06, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.17, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 3.44

UPCOMING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 10: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 12: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images are available to Media Outlets on request

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#lacomm

Incredible Surfboard Give-Aways at Rafikis Bar & Restaurant in Cape Town

December 7th, 2015 No comments

Rafikis - Poster - 10dec15 giveaway - 600

After 15 years as one of the city’s most iconic hotspots, Rafikis Bar and Restaurant is celebrating its last season in business with a series of incredible surfboard give-aways, starting this Thursday (10 December).

Rafikis (which means ‘friend’ in Swahili) have commissioned four limited edition surfboards from VuDu Surf and had each one turned into a unique piece of art by resident artist Buffy Brave Art, whose murals give this popular venue its distinctive ambience.

The surfboards will be given away as part of the regular Thursday Prize Nights, when cocktails are half-price from 4-8pm and patrons can win items ranging from concert tickets from Webtickets and custom Rafikis gear to SAB Newlands Brewery Tours.

A lucky customer will take home the first surfboard this Thursday simply by completing an entry form, purchasing five half-price cocktails or SAB draughts, and being at Rafikis between 7pm and 8pm when the draw is made.

Situated at 13 Kloof Nek Road in Tamboerskloof, Rafikis offers a laid-back vibe and casual dress-code. The 40m wrap-around balcony is ideal for relaxing with friends and enjoying sundowners. The menu comprises hearty finger foods ranging from the famous pizzas to BBQ ribs and calamari tubes, along with bar snacks such as nachos, chicken strips and chilli poppers

So whether you (or a friend) need a new surfboard, or want an original piece of artwork, be at Rafikis this Thursday between 7pm and 8pm to take advantage of this great offer. And if at first you don’t succeed, make sure you’re back on the last Thursday of the next three months for the chance to become a winner.

Regular patrons over the past 15 years are invited relive the memories of their favourite watering hole before Rafikis closes its doors in June 2016.

For more information on Rafikis, see:

Web: http://rafikis.co.za/
FB: rafikis.bar

ENDS

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Issued on behalf of:

Rafikis Bar & Restaurant
Contact: Lauren Raulstone
Email: hello@rafikis.co.za

Compiled and distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za