Stab Magazine | World Number One: Adriano De Souza

World Number One: Adriano De Souza

Adriano De Souza is the number one rated surfer in the world. After nailing strong results at the first two WT events of the year (ninth at Snapper, third at Bells), the 24-year-old won the most controversial heat since Dean Morrison’s leash-pulling incident at Pipeline in 2009. No matter, he won the Billabong Pro, Rio De Janeiro and […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Adriano De Souza is the number one rated surfer in the world. After nailing strong results at the first two WT events of the year (ninth at Snapper, third at Bells), the 24-year-old won the most controversial heat since Dean Morrison’s leash-pulling incident at Pipeline in 2009. No matter, he won the Billabong Pro, Rio De Janeiro and he’s filling the top-spot on the the ASP WT ladder. Stab let the tape roll with the current world number one and came up with this…

Stab: As of right now, does it feel like you’re the number one surfer in the world? 

Adriano De Souza: Nothing’s changed. It still seems like I’m number 10 or 12. My mind, my body, my fucken surfing, nothing’s changed except I’m really excited and motivated right now to be able to surf exactly how I want. Before, I wasn’t even happy with how I was surfing. Now, I’m so much more excited and happy with where I’m going with crazy airs and whatever.

You won the last contest but you couldn’t enjoy it because of all of the media commitments in Brazil. This could possibly never happen again, does it feel like you should be living it up? Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of things going on after the victory. But, I mean, there’s a lot of guys that told me “You are fucking number one right now, you’re sitting on top.” I cannot feel that. It’s still early, man. It’s still very early days to feel like I’m number one.

Do you think if you embrace it, you’re gonna lose it? No, actually I’m really more comfortable right now after winning. I’m definitely gonna be more comfortable in J-Bay than I used to be before, you know? I’m number one I know it’s all lights and media around me, but I’m really enjoying all this time. So, it’s a great moment in my life right now, to be 24 years old and see all of my heroes underneath me in the ratings. It’s kinda sick, you know.

Who are your favourite surfers on tour? My number one is Mick, he shows how to be the fastest and best  through training and focus. When he wants something he just goes out there and kills for it. Then Kelly, ten-time world champ. Any condition, he’s the best surfer on the planet.

You go to a contest – what’s the one heat you wanna watch? Kelly’s, all the time, for sure.

What’ve you learnt from Kelly? The way he technically competes in heats. His strategies – that’s the main focus. Watching Kelly’s heats, I learn so much. Seeing him in action, seeing the way he approaches the first wave of the heat. After such a long time on tour, almost six years already, all the things I’ve learnt I’m just applying right now. So I’m really more comfortable this year than before. I’m just gonna go for it.

What have you done differently this year? Just my approach. My focus, my surfing, just wanting to win.

Do you feel the other guys on tour treat you like a worked title contender? No, I don’t think so. I feel like nothing’s changed.

Do you want to prove them wrong? No, whatever, y’know. I just try my best,  I try and kill anyone who comes in my way.

What’s been the best, most breakthrough heat for you this year? Against Taj at the Gold Coast. That was a sick one, even though I lost. It’s not easy to lose with a fucking 9.27 and 9.67. But that heat meant that I could beat anyone.

So you learned a lot from a loss? Yeah. I thought Taj was gonna be done after my second nine. But he’s more aggressive and dangerous than me. So I just learned a lot about what he knows – you haven’t lost until the horn goes. He’s a fucking sick surfer and he’s been on tour for such a long time. He’s been a world title contender for 10 years already.

Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Jordy Smith have all been number one but none of them are yet to win a world title. What are you going to do differently to these guys? I’m just gonna go out there and surf, so whatever the results are, that’s what they are. Just have fun. It is such a sick moment right now.

Do you think you can beat Kelly? Do you think you can be world champ this year? That’s a good question. I’m not gonna answer that. I just wanna take it step by step. I don’t know what’ll happen after the Pipe event, but I wanna take it step by step. The Gold Coast was a sick event for me. Bells was fucking great. Brazil was awesome. I dunno what’ll happen at J-Bay but I’m really trying to prepare myself for it. I’m going there 10 days before the contest starts, to try all my boards. It worked at Snapper, it worked at Bells and I hope it works at J-Bay as well.

In the past, you’ve been frustrated by the judges. I’ve heard you say that Brazilian surfer need to really smash their competitors to win. Do you still believe this? Or do you think the judging is better for Brazilian surfers now? I don’t think it’s better or worse. The judges are professionals. There’s the five guys up there and sometimes, you think you can just feel in yourself that you’ve won, but then you check out the footage and you think, fuck, I didn’t win that heat. I’ll be honest right now, I work with a filmer a lot, for almost three years now. He films all my heats. Sometimes I’ll lose a heat but I feel, in the water, that I’ve won. Then I go home, watch the footage, watch all the waves and realise, the judges were right. They’re balanced, you know, they do a really good job. But you know, if you’re Brazilian, you’re just gonna surf to win. We honour the country we represent.

What’s the best thing about being a Brazilian on tour? I’m really proud of where I’ve come from. I know there’s a thousand fans behind me. It’s great being from a country where no one’s been a world champion before. So everyone’s waiting for someone to be the world champ, to bust down the door. So I wanna be the guy to try and do that.

Tell me about claiming waves. What’s the rationale behind it for you? I’m really passionate about what I’m doing. I claimed that one wave at Snapper, with the three reos and the air. You know, whatever, I really enjoy what I’m doing. If I’m happy, I’m going to show that, there’s no other reason behind it. My opinion is that the judges are there to judge what you’re doing on the wave, not the claims. If they’re judging for the claims, it’s a claim competition, not a surf competition. Some guys say to me, “You claim a lot,” but it doesn’t worry me. I’m fucking happy, man. It’s just a show of emotion. I claimed a 3.5 and no one talked about that.

You’ve claimed a 3.5? Yeah, in Portugal. I lost the heat. No one talked about that. I claimed that wave, I really enjoyed that moment. I got like, a little barrel, it was tiny but I was so in there, you know? It was only small but I fit in it! And I came out, was like, “Yeah!”, and I was like fuck, this competition’s on! And then it was like “Adriano, your last score was a 3.5” and I was like, perfect! (laughs). Fuck man, I wanna be genuine, I don’t wanna be a fake. That’s me.

Okay, tell us about the floater in Brazil? I think Owen had some great moments in the heat, but I feel that he chose the smaller waves. The floater was on a wave triple the size of his waves. And the moment that pretty much no one talked about, was when Michel Bourez got a 9.83 for two turns on a bigger one. I got one turn, but it was a huge one, on a big set. So it should’ve been a seven or an eight and the judges gave me a seven or an eight. When it’s a quarter or a semi, there’s more attention than in early rounds. There’s more tension, guys freak out more. Like, “Oh, look at this heat!” But before, in round four, or three, or two, no one payed attention. Come on. Competition is on, from the first heat of the first round.

Did this tarnish your win at all? No. I win to win.

So you can’t tell me if you’re gonna be world champ this year or not. Who’s gonna be world champ? It’s a big question mark, man.


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