After nearly seven weeks since the last stop in Brazil, the ASP World Title season is poised to reignite with the upcoming Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay from July 14 – 24, 2011.
Event No. 4 of 11 on the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay recommences what is shaping up to be one of the more intriguing ASP World Title races in several years.
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, has had an incredible season thus far in 2011, posting back-to-back Equal 3rds before an emotional hometown victory at the last event in Brazil. The young natural-footer now sits in the leader spot in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title – the first time in history that a South American has been in this position.
“The win in Brazil was a very good feeling,” de Souza said. “To have all those people on the beach, all that energy, it was a magical moment. I’ve always worked very hard to achieve my objectives. I know that still the ASP World Title Race has many thing s to happen this year. My situation may be temporary. I believe that this moment is important for the Brazil as a whole though.”
Wasting little time during the post-Brazil break, de Souza spent his time training in Sumatra and the Maldives before a knee injury cut his time short.
“The diagnosis is a hyperextension in the right knee with contusion in a medial collateral ligament,” de Souza said. “The rehabilitation has consisted of kinesiotherapy combined with muscle strengthening. It feels much better. I’ve been surfing and it still hurts a little. I am hoping it will continue to improve until J-Bay.”
Despite reaching the Quarterfinals of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay on three separate occasions (2007, 2008, 2010), de Souza has never managed to advance through it – something he hopes to remedy this season.
“I’ve been going the J-Bay since I was a kid and I’ve always liked the place,” de Souza said. “I’ve always performed pretty well here and I hope the consistency continues this season. I believe that I must always be striving for the best result possible, but I have to think step-by-step, stage-by-stage, to be consistent and to have good performances to reach these results.”
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, winner of the second stop of 2011 at Bells Beach, currently sits in the No. 2 spot in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title. Parkinson’s April victory in Bells Beach marked the first in 18 months for the stylish natural-footer, and planted him firmly back in the race for this year’s title.
“For sure the win has been a confidence boost, but in saying that, I felt pretty confident going into Bells,” Parkinson said. “I knew at that stage that I was injury free, and that I’d been doing all the right things with my surfing and my preparation. But with the good waves we got and the whole feel of the contest on its anniversary, it was fun more than anything else.”
Parkinson’s last dance with the iconic walls of Jeffreys Bay came in 2008, where he claimed an impressive second victory at the spot (10 years after his original) and cemented his reputation as one of the great all-time surfers at the venue.
“It’s such a good flow and timing wave I reckon,” Parkinson said. “When your timing’s right out there, there’s no better feeling in the world. When a wave goes according to plan out there, it’s a better feeling than riding pretty well any other wave anywhere in the world. And for me personally, I just love being in J-Bay. I’ve got a lot of good friends there and the place has got a vibe about it like nowhere else on tour.”
Tiago Pires (PRT), 31, current No. 9 on the ASP World Title rankings, is leading the charge for the emerging European contingent on tour this season.
“My goal this year is to finish in the Top 10,” Pires said.” I feel good about my surfing and more consistent than last year, but I’ve let myself slip up during the last two events. You really need to be focused and positive in order to get a good result, but sometimes that isn’t easy to accomplish. I think it’s all part of a big learning process.”
lthough stumbling in his opening two seasons at Jeffreys Bay, Pires posted a career-best Equal 9th in 2010, and will look to improve upon it in this year’s instalment.
“Jeffreys Bay used to be kind of tough to me out there, but in the last few years I’ve grown more confident out there,” Pires said. “I feel very good about it now and I love the wave. I can’t wait.”
The Round 1 draw will be finalized upon the completion of the ASP Prime Mr Price Pro Ballito.
The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay will be webcast LIVE via http://www.billabongpro.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Pictured: Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, current ASP World No. 1, will look to continue his stellar form in 2011 at the upcoming Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay. Credit: © ASP / SCHOLTZ