Taj Burrow: captured the flag

Taj Burrow has conquered the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2012, after defeating Adriano de Souza in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the primary venue of Snapper Rocks, Australia.

Burrow defeated dangerous South American Adriano De Souza (BRA), 25, in a Final that came down to the wire. De Souza caught a wave in the dying minutes and launched into a massive air-reverse, requiring a 7.87 out of a possible 10 to take the lead.

The judges deliberated until after the siren sounded and when it was announced that De Souza came a mere 0.27 short, Burrow was chaired up the beach and declared the 2012 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast champion. Watch the final video highlights.

"I feel so good now!" Burrow said. "I had a really good event last year, but came up short in the Final against Kelly (Slater). Then today when I found myself against Adriano (De Souza), I was really nervous because he got me in a Final in Brazil last year".

"He's really tough and I don't like competing against him to be honest. There was a lot of weight on my shoulders in that Final so it's pretty rewarding to come out on top."

"I've been going for the ASP World Title for a while now," Burrow said. "I don't know what to say. I just want to surf my best and hope that the rest falls into place. I love Bells. I love throwing on a full wetsuit and doing some big arcs in the Bells Bowl."

De Souza finished runner-up at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast for the second time, after coming 2nd to Joel Parkinson, in 2009. De Souza was easily one of the event's top performers this season with gouging turns and inverted aerials taking him to a podium finish.

"I'm really happy with my result here today," De Souza said. "It was such an amazing Final. Last year Taj (Burrow) and I had such a great heat here as well. It was one of the best heats of my life and he beat me. It's amazing to be on the podium here again. In 2009, it was me and Joel (Parkinson). It's a great way to start the year and I'm happy to be back up here."

Stephanie Gilmore won her fourth Roxy Pro Gold Coast title after defeating ASP Top 17 sophomore Laura Enever, in a hard-fought Final. Gilmore was dominant throughout the event, posting scores in the excellent range in every encounter throughout the draw.

"To be carried up the beach with your friends underneath you with thousands of people around has got to be one of the best feelings in the world," Gilmore said.

"It took me back to 2005 when I won here as a grom. Last year went so quickly and it felt like I didn't even exist on the rankings and that fire wasn't really there. This year it's so good to have that back! My cheeks are so sore from smiling already."

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