Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, is the current frontrunner on the ASP World Title Race. The fiery Brazilian has had an electric start to his 2011 campaign, including a fairytale victory at the Billabong Rio Pro, a standout performance at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, where he topped 10-time ASP World Champ Kelly Slater (USA), 39, and an electric performance at Snapper Rocks, where de Souza lost to Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, in Round 5 despite posting an 18.94 heat total. Although many critics may not have de Souza as their pick for the 2011 crown, the math says Mineirinho is the man to beat en route to the 2011 ASP World Title. STAB Magazine caught up with de Souza to break down his season thus far and the hard-working natural-footer gives STAB his thoughts on where his success has come from, his view on the controversial Quarterfinal against Owen Wright in Brazil, his need to claim and what the future will bring. This… is their story…
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 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 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.
For the full Adriano de Souza interview log on to STAB Magazine.