ADRIANO de Souza crowns Kelly Slater after beating the champ to the top the podium at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal, much to the delight of the locals.
All hail the waves, the creating storm, the sand, and the surfers slipping through flawless hoops from dawn till dusk. Hail the king, stomping on the fingers of another young pretender.
Congratulations must also extend to Adrian de Souza, Rip Curl Pro Portugal winner in a slow final over Kelly. But here in Portugal Slater was the real winner, his final a truncated shadow boxing comp against Owen Wright, whose Rd3 knockout eliminated him from the title race. Adriano bowed down and saluted Kelly on the podium as the 11 times world champion and acclaimed him as his inspiration to get to number one.
"Kelly has been my hero since I ever heard about surfing," De Souza said. "He is a living legend and to be competing against him at this level is more than a dream come true. He has pushed me more than any other surfer and I owe him a lot."
Barring a very unlikely collision of circumstance 2011 is now Ke11y. Apparently he's into numbers and symmetry so what's to stop 12 titles in 2012? His girlfriend appears to relish life on tour, he's clearly still better than everyone else and what do you do when you stop? Freesurfing doesn't bring you world titles and Kelly is a competitive animal. He's done the tour for long he's bound to be a version of institutionalised and since he discovered Twitter, wow, now he can tell everyone exactly what he thinks all the time. Which is great.
Other news of note in this event was that for the first time they did it in the fabled three days, long days of endless barrels. The perfect event? Pretty close.
© Justin Barnwell/Rip Curl