Adriano de Souza wins 2011 Billabong Rio Pro

May 20, 2011 | Surfing
Adriano de Souza: an emotional winner

Adriano de Souza has conquered the 2011 Billabong Rio Pro, in Barra da Tijuca, Brazil. Tears of joy flowed down the winner's face as he captured an historic title for Brazilian surfing. De Souza defeated Taj Burrow in the last heat and reaches the first place of the ASP World Tour rankings.

The Brazilian rider only stopped crying several minutes after being confirmed as the Billabong Rio Pro champion. "Mineirinho" scored 15.63 points against Taj Burrow's 12.17 points and was cheered by hundreds of local fans.

"I am speechless, right now. I only want to thank everyone. My sponsor, my fans and everyone who stood with me from the beginning. Today, I defended Jadson's blood that was a winner in the last year", said Adriano pouring litres of tears.

"It’s still very early days and next event will be J Bay so I’m going to be pushing myself," De Souza said. "Kelly and all of these guys are such amazing surfers and have been on tour for such a long time, but I’m going to try my best."

In a very emotional final, the Brazilian crowd cheered Adriano's best waves and Burrow's falls in critic moments. The wave conditions were inconsistent and choosing the best rides became an absolute priority. The Australian surfer was clearly sad.

Burrow, who finished runner-up on the Gold Coast to Kelly Slater (USA), 39, was admittedly distraught after coming painfully close to another elite event victory.

"I’m pretty devastated right now, but eventually I’ll be able to smile about it," Burrow said. "Two seconds is good, but I didn’t want to lose that one, I wasn’t planning on losing that one."

In the semi finals, Taj Burrow had beaten Jeremy Flores, while Adrian took over Bede Durbidge. This is the first time a Brazilian surfer reaches the top of the Dream Tour ranking.

Billabong Rio Pro | Final

Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.63 vs Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.17