Surfing Gets Cheated Out Of What Could’ve Been A Phenomenal Riot
Adriano de Souza is the 2017 Oi Rio Pro Champion.
Surfing’s last major riot was in 1986 after Occy beat Tom Curren in the old equivalent to the US Open. Chaos erupted, cop cars were flipped over and the scene went from a neon jamboree to a fiery blaze in a subtle but accurate foreshadow to the style changes that would overtake surfing in the next decade. Tom Curren still won the World Title that year, but it was really something. And it could’ve happened again today if Adriano de Souza didn’t win.
The beach was bursting with people and on the webcast, the term “passionate” was used nearly twice as much as “basement pile of meat grizzle” which is saying a lot considering it was Rio. Just imagine what all that passion could’ve manifested as today.
Some may say that riots are bad for the sport but isn’t that stupid? They’re the only way to show WSL that we really care. Plus, if history has anything to say, Tom Curren could have won another World Title. Really makes you think, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Anyway, this is how it all went down at the River of January’s favourite sandbar.
The day kicked off with Round 5, and here’s how everybody lost.
– Wiggolly Dantas made a heinous priority mistake and won a heat on behalf of Joel Parkinson.
– Gabriel Medina lost because Yago Dora was more exciting.
– Julian Wilson lost because he had a very hard time standing up on his surfboard.
– Kanoa Igarashi lost because he did not like catching waves.
Then the Quarters, and here’s how everybody won.
– Adriano de Souza won because of his angry turns.
– Yago Dora won because he’s more exciting than Mick Fanning.
– Adrian Buchan won by figuring out the wave is, according to him, “like a slopey Cloudbreak.”
– Matt Wilkinson won because Owen Wright wasn’t allowed to do backside turns.
And the Semis and some thoughts.
Yago Dora beat three World Champions as a wildcard in the Oi Rio Pro. He could not beat four. While John John, Gabriel and Mick all had somewhat sub-par heats against Yago, Adriano belted him with a 9.57 and then some. I have a feeling he would rather read lengthy texts about World War II, wasps or steel mills than he would a fairytale. You can’t buy grit folks. You either have it or you don’t.
In waves this size and stature, you’d probably favour both Ace and Wilko on their backhands — so they were both with their backs against a wall but kind of not. Ace fucking tore, and it didn’t hurt that he was on really good waves. People always say that Ace is really smart. That’s, like, the thing you’re supposed to say about him. Adriano is tenacious, is stylish, Andy is raw, Sunny is powerful, Jordy is nipples, Filipe is innovative, Ace is smart. But, brain or not, sometimes I think Ace surfs a lot better than people realise.
After his Quarterfinal win, Adriano said, “I just want to show people who I am.” That made sense to me. You could walk the dude through his old favela with a bunch of Red Bull cameras pointed at him as many times as you’d like, but nothing will tell you more about him than the way he surfs. He works hard. He gets it done. He plays with full heart no matter what the conditions are doing.
The judges have been rewarding backhand surfing in the pocket all year long. They love that shit — but it was borderline impossible in waves like this. So, they went with their tried and trusted method of scoring frontside cutbacks and hit Ace with a 9.20! But then Adriano found one that let him tee off in the pocket, got a 9.80 and won!
So that’s who Adriano de Souza is. He’s won CT events from Mundaka to Main Break, Pipeline to Portugal, but more than anything he is the 2017 Oi Rio Pro champion.
Round five results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson 16.00 def Wiggolly Dantas 14.16
Heat 2: Yago Dora 15.67 def Gabriel Medina 14.83
Heat 3: Jordy Smith 15.70 def Julian Wilson 5.13
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson 14.33 def Kanoa Igarashi 12.97
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza 18.50 def Joel Parkinson 11.00
Heat 2: Yago Dora 12.44 def Mick Fanning 12.34
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan 13.77 def Jordy Smith 13.47
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson 17.23 def Owen Wright 14.70
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza 17.97 def Yago Dora 11.97
Heat 2: Ace Buchan 16.97 def Matt Wilkinson 11.60
Adriano de Souza 17.63 def Ace Buchan 17.23
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