With huge crowds just a few feet from the action tuned in and appreciative of every surfer's efforts in Portugal, the Rip Curl Pro actually began to take on the appearance of a real sporting event. With Pipeline at the top of the list as the ultimate event location, next in line may just be Supertubes with all day offshores grooming A-frame peaks into Pipeline looking sandbar pits.
It is nature's many moods that determine the quality of an event more than any other factor. The surfers, spectators, and webcast viewers were treated to three days of nature putting on her Sunday best at Supertubes for all to appreciate. All that energy translated into inspired performance after inspired performance from a long list of athletes (the surfers on the WT are athletes now). It even motivated Cory and I to jump in the truck directly after the final for a 14 hour drive so we could get some tubes ourselves in the morning.
The best surfer of the event, Kelly, finished second here, cruising through heats with incredible high scores. The smile on his face and tone in his voice came across as a stoked grommet that couldn't be happier doing anything else in the world. He was having so much fun that he lost his focus on the competition and played out the day relaxed in freesurf mode.
Adriano has no freesurf mode. He has no off switch either. Watching him charge through heat after heat wearing his heart on his sleeve, you eventually have to fall in love with his passion. Two wins this year is all the proof needed to justify his crazy emotional outbursts and outrageous claims--he must sleep very well at night, exhausted from all that exertion. Not tonight though, there will be no sleep tonight--only Cristal showers and a steady stream of perfect rides running over and over in his head. His 136 lbs of heart was what it took to beat the best there ever was/ever will be today, in waves that would break most in two.
And so in two weeks we've seen two young Brazilians winning WT events in Europe. This is the new norm.