Now that's what I call a great week!
I mentioned in my last blog that it was a real slog to get from Australia to Brazil in terms of jet lag and impact on the body clock, but winning is the perfect antidote.
I'm so stoked to have taken out the Hang Loose Pro.
It's my third career win on the ASP World Tour, pushed me to No. 2 on the rankings behind Kelly with just one event to go and is my best ever result in Brazil – which is a country I love surfing in because of the passion the fans have there.
So, all in all, I'm stoked I made the effort to get to Brazil!
The win has amped me for the last Dream Tour contest of the year where I am defending my title at the Pipe Masters.
Doing well there and also defending my Hawaiian Triple Crown title are my remaining priorities for this year – along with sealing the No. 2 spot.
I am pretty sure I can hold onto second as long as Taj or Parko don't reach the Pipe Masters Final and I don't dud out too early in the contest.
I'd be stoked if I can finish '08 at No. 2 behind Kelly.
I know everybody wants to be No. 1 but the reality is it was gone for this year some time ago thanks to Kelly's stellar performances this year. Second is next best and it's definitely my goal from here because it's a perfect launch pad for next year's Dream Tour and having a crack at the ASP World Title.
Brazil was pretty much a dream Final for me. I felt like I was building momentum the whole event and I peaked at the right time.
I got a perfect start in the Final against Jeremy Flores with an 8-pointer, which I backed up straight up with a 9 before Jeremy had even caught anything.The rest of the Final, I just concentrated on staying busy, pushing my turns and hoping Jeremy didn't come back at me. That was a real risk as Jeremy was definitely one of the form surfers of the event and was posting 9s most heats.
Luckily for me, he struggled to get into a rhythm in the Final and I was able to take it out.
But Jeremy's appearance in the Final, his first on the tour, shows he's a guy with a future. It's only his second year on tour and he has made Top 10 now two years in a row. France should be proud of him – he's an amazing surfer who will make many more Finals.
My toughest heat was in the Semis against Freddie P. We both struggled for decent waves and in the last couple of minutes he only needed a 7.5 to beat me, so I had to just follow him around and not give him an inch. I knew he could get the score easy but luckily for me a wave didn't show up.
I took some new boards to Brazil which my shaper from Mt. Woodgee Wayne McKewen did for me. I rode one particular 6'2" in the Straddie Teams Assault before I left and it went awesome. It quickly became the new favourite and I used it all the way through the event.
My previous best in a Brazilian event was equal 9th so it was awesome to go all the way this time – especially in front of the amazing crowds they have there. I reckon the Brazilian surf fans are the most passionate in the world. They idolise their own surfers and really get in behind them. They're treated like demi-gods.
But they also love the visiting surfers. I think the locals were a bit bummed that Kelly, Mick, Andy and Joel weren't there. They idolise those guys, but they still seemed pretty stoked to watch all of us other guys there.
Next year everyone will be in Brazil because it will be the fourth event on tour. They've changed the dates because in winter Brazil supposedly gets lighter winds and bigger swells, improving the prospect of better waves.
The event deserves to have the best possible field.
I got treated awesome there – definitely the best crowds on the tour!
I'm off home now to the Gold Coast for eight days before heading to Hawaii.
I'll hang with my wife Tarryn, my family and friends, get my boards sorted through Wayne and do some training for Hawaii with Elko (Gary 'Kong' Elkerton).
It's not tough getting motivated after a week like the last one!
Talk to you from the Islands.
– Bede Durbidge