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Adriano De Souza Claims 2015 WSL Title at Pipeline

December 18th, 2015
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

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