We'd like to say we saw it coming, but when it comes to predicting the rise of budding professional surfers, you can never be too sure. For the past year, the collective eyes and ears at SURFER have been tuned to the southern hemisphere, honing in on what we believe is one of the most talented and relatively unknown young surfers in the business today: 19-year-old Jadson Andre from Brazil. After watching Andre dismantle some big wigs in the Pro Junior circuit over the course of the past few seasons, we found ourselves morphed into true believers and awarding him a top 10 position in our 2009 Hot 100, moving him from relative obscurity directly into the industry's spotlight.
Recently, at the 6-star Quiksilver Pro in Durban, South Africa, Andre vindicated our bold predictions by dominating the rest of the field, bringing home his first WQS win—along with 3,500 points and $20,000—over Australia's Owen Wright in playful four-foot conditions.
“I’m really happy to have won this event,” said Andre after dousing the crowd with champagne, “and I’d just like to thank all my friends and everyone who was on the beach today supporting me. When I was out in the water I just concentrated on surfing as well as I could and I am really happy to have won such a prestigious event.”
It was the second time that Andre and Wilson had surfed against one another in a final, with each surfer now holding a win over the other.
“I’ve had a great time here in Durban,” said Wright after the event, “and I’m super stoked to have made the final. This is the second final I’ve surfed against Jadson, so I guess now it’s one all buddy!”
Although it's still early in the 'QS season, Andre's win at Durban catapulted him into the number-two slot in the rankings, a mere 13 points shy of Owen Wright, who is holding firm at number one.
Last year, Andre very nearly qualified for the 'CT, landing himself a spot in the mid-30s, falling just short of a role in the Big Leagues. With a few big results already under his belt this season, this year he looks stronger than ever for World Tour qualification.