BANZAI PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, December 17, 2015) – After what can only be called the most dramatic day in pro surfing history, Brazilian Adriano de Souza (BRA) has clinched the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Title at the world-renowned Banzai Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii. In the process, he also became the first Brazilian to win the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons.
Surfing for ten years amongst the world’s elite and setting the stage for the rise of the ‘Brazilian Storm,’ De Souza’s Title clinching performance came with a significant wave of emotions, as he dedicated the victory to fallen compatriot Ricardo dos Santos who died earlier this year.
The final day of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour began with three contenders in the hunt for the world surfing crown – Mick Fanning (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA) and de Souza. Fanning’s Quarterfinal win over 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) ousted Medina from the race, but a late big air maneuver from Medina in their Semifinal eliminated the Australian from competition, which left de Souza the task of winning his Semifinal which would give him the World Title.
Taking down an explosive wildcard in Mason Ho (HAW) for a Semifinal win, de Souza claimed the coveted World Title after a loss earlier in the year at the Moche Rip Curl Pro had him doubting his chances heading into Pipeline.
Fanning came into Pipeline having won his first-ever Hawaiian event at the Vans World Cup of Surfing and looked to be the favorite to win the World Title. But after being eliminated by Medina, his Title chances were left to Ho who couldn’t seal it for the three-time WSL Champion despite Fanning’s incredible win over Kelly Slater (USA).
Claiming Runner-up status at the Billabong Pipe Masters and the first Brazilian to earn a Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title, Gabriel Medina (BRA) achieved a phenomenal comeback after a tough start to 2015. Turning his season around at the Billabong Pro Tahiti with a Runner-up, the defending WSL Champion stood proud hoisting his well-deserved trophy.
It was Medina who ended C.J. Hobgood’s (USA) final run at a Pipe Master title, earning a Quarterfinal appearance in his last WSL Championship Tour competition. Winning a World Title in 2001, the 36-year-old Florida native spent 17 years on the dream tour – giving fans and fellow competitors so many fond memories to look back on.