BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Friday, May 3, 2013) – With the 2013 Billabong Rio Pro just around the corner, hometown hero Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, is currently prepping for the event following his historic win at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach last month. Following the immaculate showing at Bells, De Souza now sits at No. 4 on the ASP WCT and is looking to carry his momentum to Brazil in hopes to make a push for an inaugural ASP World Title.
After winning in Australia, De Souza traveled back to his hometown of Sao Paulo for just a few days to handle media responsibilities and try and catch up with family before heading out on his next trip. While De Souza’s few days in Brazil were action packed, the trip gave him the opportunity to reflect on his humble beginnings.
“Winning Bells was really emotional, and it’s really inspirational to be back here an see my friends,” De Souza said. “I’m happy to be from here and it makes me value and enjoy everything I have today. If you come from the favela, you give it everything you have. I saw examples from the soccer guys who turned pro and knew I could do it with surfing if I put in the hard work. When I became a pro surfer, it allowed me to bring my family to a better place.”
Following the brief stint with family in Sao Paulo, De Souza spent time in the Mentawais Islands to surf perfect waves with fellow countryman Miguel Pupo (BRA), 21, to further improve his game entering Rio.
“For me, going to Indonesia was good preparation before heading back to Brazil,” De Souza said. “It allows you to surf good waves and increase your performance. I’ve been surfing six or seven hours a day. When I was young, I grew up surfing Guaruja Beach and the waves weren’t that great and I always used to imagine what it’d be like to surf here.”
De Souza, former Billabong Rio Pro Champion (2011), knows a repeat victory in front of his hometown crowd will be no easy task, but the natural-footer is up to the challenge.
“I know the road to make the final there is going to be massive,” De Souza said. “It’s not easy and you’re going to have to fight for it.”
The Billabong Rio Pro is set to unfold from May 8 – 19, 2013 and will be webcast LIVE via http://wctbrasil.com/rio13
John John Florence (HAW), 20, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 31, Owen Wright (AUS), 23, and Tiago Pires (PRT), 33, are out due to injury. 2 spots went for ASP with Replacement #1 & #2, Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 27, and Yadin Nicol (AUS), 27, accepting their invitations as ASP Replacements.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
BILLABONG RIO PRO ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), TBD
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), TBD
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), TBD
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Nat Young (USA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kai Otton (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 12: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Phillip Anderson (AUS)
Heat 5: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Alize Arnaud (FRA)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)