PARTISAN hardly describes the rabid crowd thronging the beach cheering home the final few minutes of Adriano De Souza's win over Taj Burrow at the Billabong Rio Pro.
No-one was safe throughout the event and you knew there would be a Brazilian in the final. Fittingly it was Taj Burrow, the form surfer of the event coming off the back of a shocking result at Bells, up against Adriano the mid-twenties elder statesman of Brazilian surfing. They cheered De Souza's every wave only slightly more than they cheered mistakes from Taj, ending up with the result they craved.
At one point this event threatened to be a total Aussie whitewash before De Souza and Flores shook their tail-feathers, helped in no small part by what many considered generous judging for the home favourite against Owen Wright on the way to the final. Surfing is big news in Brazil and it was like a one man World Cup triumph for the emotional De Souza, who was so overcome by victory he could barely believe the dream result he'd achieved. This win promotes him to world number one, deposing Kelly Slater, a postion never before held by a Brazilian on the Dream Tour.
Next stop J-Bay...