Rio Pro Wrap-Up

Jordy Smith takes down Adriano de Souza in Brazil

| posted on May 19, 2013

Jordy Smith en route to victory. Photo: ASP/Kirstin

The final day of the Billabong Rio Pro was a dramatic cap to an otherwise uneventful contest plagued by lay days and overshadowed by a massive Teahupoo swell. Passions were running high on the final day with three of the eight quarterfinalists claiming home-field advantage (Adriano de Souza, Gabriel Medina, and Filipe Toledo). That passion came to a boiling point in the semi-finals when de Souza squared off against Medina in a heat that quickly became a microcosm of youth versus experience, flair versus strategy. A last second backside air reverse by Medina had everyone wondering who won well after the buzzer sounded. Ultimately, Medina’s wave came up just .14 points shy of the 7.94 that he needed to win.

The semi-final between Medina and de Souza nearly didn’t happen, as Medina found himself in a priority debacle in his quarterfinal with Ace Buchan. With the priority disc falsely showing Buchan with priority, he took off on a solid left only to be burned by Medina. Both surfers gave animated expressions of confusion and disgust; thinking the other was in the wrong. The heat went on with no call, indicating that Medina had priority and Buchan didn’t interfere with the scoring potential. After the heat, an intense back stage discussion revealed that a re-surf was possible because Medina officially had priority but the disc showed that Buchan did. In the end, there would be no re-surf and Medina was given the official heat win.

Coming from the other side of the draw, an in-form Jordy Smith took down Filipe Toledo, Mick Fanning, and eventually Adriano de Souza in the final. Smith’s aerial variations and combinations of maneuvers left a better impression on the judges than the single-maneuver waves, and air reverses that ran rampant throughout the day. Smith leaves Brazil $100,000 richer and with his first World Tour win outside of South Africa.

The World Tour is only three events into the year, but things are starting to take shape. De Souza and Smith have jumped into the first and second spots, respectively. Fanning, Slater, and Burrow round out the top 5, each of them dropping down in the ratings after Brazil. Notably missing from the top 5 is 2012 ASP World Champ Joel Parkinson. Parkinson now has two Round 3 finishes in a row, which doesn’t bode well for his second world title campaign. Also, Filipe Toledo and Sebastian Zietz’ quarterfinal finishes have tightened up the Rookie of the Year race, which Nat Young has lead since his runner-up finish at Bells. The next stop on the World Tour is the Volcom Fiji Pro in two weeks.

1st – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.80
2nd – Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.34

SF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.64 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.50
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.83 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 8.26

QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 12.30
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.43 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.93
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.50 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.37
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.76 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.07

ASP WCT TOP 5 SURFERS (Following Billabong Rio Pro);
1. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 18,500 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18,250 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 18,200 pts
4. Kelly Slater (USA) 16,950 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15,700 pts

  • Daniel

    Check out or for full coverage, photos, heat highlights and see why the epicenter of progressive surfing is moving from North to South America.

  • Daniel

    Check out for full coverage, photos, heat analyser and see why the epicenter of progressive surfing is moving from North to South America.

  • Rodrigo Mendes

    Amazing your comment of an uneventful contest. How about the contest with the most spectators since the OP Pro in the US 1986. How about these last 2 days that provided the spectators with an array of aerials ,tube rides, hack’s , etc..
    Look do not take me wrong the waiting period suck’s ; however the contest was amazing.

  • david van rensburg

    Uneventful ? That was damn exciting, big moves, good barrels, tight heats and a massive crowd. I was glued to the webcast. Welldone to all the Brazilians and most of all well done jordy and adriano. The younger guys really are surfing at another level . Mick’s a great surfer but eish that semi was not a good show.

  • http://surfer Kimbo

    a 2 foot shorebreak is the epicenter of surfing !!! , lets move on from this bogan circus and get into some real surfing .

  • Luis Gustavo

    It is amazing: in ALL the english websites about surf there are always crap comments against something about Brazil: surfer performance, crap waves and now “uneventful contest”. What a F*#@? What do people think they are? Shame on you guys the worls is changing and the road is fading.

  • Daniel

    Real surfing is anywhere where great surfers are pushing the limits of our sport.
    Real competitive surfing is where new equipment is being tested and approved, where crowds are going appreciative and supportive to what is being performed in the water, where atheletes are wearing the hearts on their sleeve, where surfers are focused on their job and displaying memorable performances.

  • Rob Truskett

    As a surfer and ISA level 3 judge I find it incomprehensible that at a WCT event, even more a quarter final, that a priority bungle such as befell Ace Buchan could occur and one would hope that the ASP JUDGING ORGANISATION is working hard to ensure that such a high profile error is not repeated. Perhaps the whole issue of priority , and more importantly communicatingit, needs to be reviewed by the ASP.
    The time it took for any decision or resolution of the incident as well as its communication to the competitors and viewing audience made professional surfing look rather amateurish,I think.
    I have seen a number of surfers block an opponent under the priority rule and while Medina’s surfing was spectacular the point at which he “blocked” Buchan looked unsportsmanlike to the eyes of this viewer. Buchan had almost completed his second manoeuvre on a ride that had the potential for producing a very good score while Medina’s “drop-in” looked like a desperate afterthought.
    Perhaps the surfer who has priority should show his intention to take the wave before the surfer who hasn’t completes a scoring manoeuvre ?
    This writer thinks that if we want our sport to have a higher standing on the world stage last night’s “priority debacle” should never be repeated, especially if the eyes of the world are watching.

  • http://surfer Kimbo

    Thanks Daniel , you are taking about Brazil ?

  • Whatever

    De Sousa is a friggin joke. Check replays! Slater robbed, Medina robbed! Ends up Brazil is the only place using your rail is a detriment to your surfing! What a flippin joke. ASP, BAN BRAZIL!!!! FOr Medina and Toledo. That way real surfers can win heats, not rail dodgers….

  • mb

    I completely agree with Rob. The Ace/Medina quarterfinal was an absolute joke.

    Equally importantly, Medina’s blocking of Ace Buchan’s wave, so late in the wave – and so early in the heat was, at best, unsportsmanlike.

    I also make the observation this is not the first time he has displayed these characteristics…

  • Bushy

    Have seen on other forums and now here a lot of criticism of Mick Fanning and his semi display, but I see it differently – if this is a weak event for him than a semi-final is a great result. Now we off to big left reef passes that he has won at before. Let’s see how they score airs there and how Toledo, de Souza etc get on – Fanning is a multiple world champ for a reason.

  • Daniel

    @kimbo, Yes Brazil
    @ whatever, you use your rail in perfect and larger waves too, to keep your line on a massive cutback for example.

  • Mike Strovsky

    Mr. Rob Truskett, what do you think about Slater “blocked” Parko (Kirra) ? Is that OK for you ? Is that unsportsmanlike looked unsportsmanlike to the eyes of this viewer ? Why Medina can’t do the same ?

  • Dgcova

    what lasts for you guys???? its been jealous…….real surfing?????
    for me real surfing is; do the best whatever its 3, 6 or 8 foot…..

  • Eric

    Gotta move that comp to a better wave. Brazil is an epic country, but that wave especially(except one day) sucks, and is not WCT quality. I know they want to be close to Rio, and its obvious shy they want to keep Brazil on the schedule, but move it back to the old venue. If Brazzo’s can claim that much, they will show up at a comp a few miles out of the city.

  • Afficionado

    The point is, Mr Mike Strovsky, that the priority disc was on red when Buchan took off, therefore technically, according to the rulebook, Medina interfered. Rob Truscott is absolutely correct. The whole debacle was embarrassing for our sport. As the contest director himself said on the webcast…”the judges got it wrong………no………the guy who does disc control got it wrong……..unfortunately Ace was on the end of it.” This dismissive attitude is unacceptable. Where was the Head Judge? Why did he not explain the mistake immediately? Why was the heat not stopped or resurfed? Then you had Okky saying on the webcast ” Ace should have left the water immediately and stormed the judges’ tower”…… and he was serious! As Rob Truscott says, the priority situation/communication needs to be radically improved. The commentators often don’t know who’s got priority…or they don’t bother to tell the viewers. The scores and the priority marker should be on the screen for viewers at all times. This whole debacle was another poor reflection on the officialdom and webcasting of the tour. With a growing band of surfing afficionados watching these events and webcasts we expect a higher standard all round. It turned out to be a great contest in spite of official incompetence and some questionable judging…but is that par for the course?

  • Matt O’Brien

    What about ACE being full-on screwed by poor priority team! that is the real story of the last day of this comp? b.s. & there was a brazilian storm – it rained on the 10th & 11th day of the waiting period.

  • Eric

    Jordy Smith is a great surfer, but is pretty painful to watch in small surf. And just to objective in the claiming discussion… Jordy is a pretty prolific claimer himself… taking bows and what not. WIth all the criticism about ugly style and claiming directed towards the Brazilians… I feel like Jordy won the comp with a healthy dose of both of those attributes along with his surfing. More power to him, but I hope the waves at the venues coming up turn on for the power surfers. SOmeone should tally up all the air reverses from this comp. It’s got to be some kind of record.

  • jarrif

    Stoked for Jordy!!

  • jarrif

    And if you didn’t nearly shit yourself after Felipe’s mega combo, then you have no soul. Sickest combo in pro surfing ever

  • James

    How the hell did Adriano beat Kelly in the quarters? He got a 6.83 for 3 weak floaters in a stink bug squat stance? Any novice surfer could have ridden that wave just as good. On the other hand Kelly got a 4.8 for a well positioned barrel to man-hack. You judges should be embarrassed.

  • Adam

    You guys know Jordy is doing his claims sarcastically right? Thats why they are so over the top and funny.

  • Matt O’Brien

    well said James. well said. Kelly’s 4.83 floater was a lot undercooked too… oh well. Felipe’s wave was an 11! he SpinalTap’ed that thing for sure (jarrif – yup. for sure. actually THE “Fiji – to – Bali – to – Tahiti – to – Trestles – to – France – to – Portugal – to – Pipeline!”) might be the best combo in pro surfing ever!!. this year will/is gonna be exciting.

  • David Nelson

    I agree w/ the last three posts and Rob’s…I was laughing at Jordy’s claims because they were so outlandish…he’s clearly said that he’s not surfing for the judges anymore and just out there to have fun and I think it’s coming across in such a fresh way. All the other claims from the Brazilians were just stupid, cocky, and immature. And Medina’s drop in was lame. It’s their fault I’m biased because they keep giving me new reasons to discriminate against them.

  • Daniel

    come on, get a grip…you guys have too much racism, envy and latent discrimination in your hearts. Sloppy and jealous remarks against Brazil and Brazzos indeed.

  • Eric

    Love Brazillians, but the claiming in the Adriano/Medina heat was embarrassing….worse that soccer flops, of NFL touchdown dances after every turn. Lame lame lame. Surf, be humble.

  • Mik

    The colossal error by the Priority Judge is pretty damn inexcusable, and Melina should have been given an interference, BUT…
    I am actually OK with it. What I like about surfing is it is a freedom driven sport, and it is hip, and loose. So as long as everyone one is scored equally fair, with no bias of race/culture/ranking, then I dont really care too deeply about anything other than getting to watch the circus called the ASP/ WCT. It is so amazing to see these guys light up whatever waves that Nature dishes out. The web format is a blessing. Rad rad rad.

    I can take issue with the location, because the surf in Rio sucks. But if this event means that Billabong makes lots of money, to support the Tour, then hell yeah. I’m on board. Otherwise, frankly, I find it hard to believe that there isn’t a better location in Brazil, or South America, like El; Salvador. Or dump Rio and do Jeffries Bay. Or go to 50 possible Indo places? The issues are, and will always be:

    Judging fairly and consistently
    Choosing World Class surf spots

    Beyond that? Claim all you want however you want, I really dont care.

    And get off Adriano’s case. He has fought all you bigoted trolls and risen to the top of the World.

    Either surf better than him, or respect it.

  • Danny

    Surfline made a very racist and poorly writhing report about the Rio Pro. So bizarre that lots of people complained and they took it off the air and changed the captions on the pics. It was a whole article slaying brazilians (I’m sure many here would like).
    If you go to Surfline story on the Rio Pro now is just pictures! lol
    How a website like Surfline write so many prejudice BS is beyond me. I can understand the Rednecks on the comments section but Surfline!?

  • Danny

    Witch one of Jordy’s claim was sarcastic?
    When he was laughing or when he was punching the air with an angry face!?
    What I understand here is: brazilians claiming is bad. Anyone else is ok.

  • jarrif

    And I don’t know why some of y’all are tripping about the waves for this comp. Yeah, all the lay days sucked but from what I saw (round 3 and on) the waves looked super fun and ripable. Chunky barrels, massive air sections – seemed legit to me

  • gannysesh

    Danny, I just noticed that surfline took down their recap/rant. I thought it was really out of line when I read it.

    Maybe my impression of the contest would be different if I watched it live – instead I just caught the daily recaps (which I’m really glad they’re doing! Nice 10 minute, detailed recap). I found the final day to be rife with unattractive posturing and by-and-large boring surfing by almost everyone who was still in it. It didn’t register to me that it was the Brazilians who were the most obnoxious (as they were according to surfline). It was a spazzy claimfest all around! Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, Toledo, Medina – those four were the worst offenders.

    And even though I’m not super into looking at De Souza’s giant butt and wide stance, he was tearing those waves apart.