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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jordy Smith Wins Billabong Rio Pro Final Over Adriano de Souza

By Andrew Sachs
Jordy Smith claimed the Billabong Rio Pro title after a tough finals matchup against local Brazilian favorite Adriano de Souza in 2-3 foot surf at Barra de Tijuca.  Jordy's win was payback against Adriano, who beat Jordy in the semifinals of the last competition at Bell's Beach by just .04 points.  The win is Jordy's first ever WCT win on foreign soil after wins at the J-Bay event in his home of South Africa in 2010 and 2011.

Jordy faced off against Mick Fanning in the semis and although he only scored three waves, two of those waves were strong rides scoring 7.83 and 7.00 points.  Mick on the other hand had ten waves scored, but struggled for quality and finished with a combined total of 8.26 points.

The other semifinal was a serious battle between two Brazilians, Adriano and Gabriel Medina.  The heat was super competitive as both surfers traded waves (and airs).  Each surfer had a 7 point ride under his jersey when Adriano upped the ante with two huge hacks that scored him an 8.77.  Medina fired right back, sticking a monster air reverse for a 9.70 and the lead.  But Adriano countered with an air of his own that scored 8.87 to retake the lead himself.  In the closing minutes of the heat, Medina landed another air, that, based on his claim, he thought had won him the heat (although Brazilians will claim anything). Bumor for him, the judges disagreed and gave him only a 7.60.  The final score was 17.64 to 17.30, and Adriano moved on to face Jordy in the finals.

Jordy and Adriano ratcheted up the action in the finals.  They each had back to back 7 point waves scored, but Adriano already had a 6 point wave and was sitting in the lead when Jordy landed a double-air 8.50 wave and took the lead.  He increased his lead on his next wave, probably the biggest air-grab of the competition, a 9.30.  A late 8.47 by Adriano made it close, but Jordy held on for the title.

WCT Standings after 3 Events:
  1. Adriano de Souza, 18500 points
  2. Jordy Smith, 18250 points
  3. Mick Fanning, 18200 points
  4. Kelly Slater, 16950 points
  5. Taj Burrow, 15700 points
In only 2 weeks, they'll be back at in Fiji when the Volcom Fiji Pro kicks off at Tavarua on June 2.  It's still only 3 events in but we might finally be seeing a changing of the guard on the WCT as Jordy and Adriano push past champions like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and even Kelly Slater down the rankings.  Will Jordy and Adriano meet up for a third straight competition at the Fiji Pro?  Is their rivalry the new Andy-Kelly rivalry?  Will John John return from injury to shake things up?  Stay tuned.

Event 1: Slater Takes Down Parko to Win Quik Pro Gold Coast
Event 2: Adriano De Souza and Carissa Moore Ring the Bell at the Rip Curl Pro Bell's Beach