Adriano de Souza announces his retirement at the end of next year

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

In the surest sign yet that pro surfing will be cancelled next year, Adriano de Souza has announced 2021 will be his swansong season.

By accident or design, the 33-year-old they call Mineirinho was often denied the limelight.

ADS was the spiritual leader of the Brazilian Storm yet it was Gabriel Medina who was crowned the first Brazilian World Champ. Then, a year later when ADS finally won the world title, Kelly Slater threw shade on his glory by unveling his wavepool less than 24 hours later.

ADS qualified for the CT in 2006, and he was one of the very few surfers in the noughties who wasn't intimidated by Kelly Slater's presence. Their duels, however, weren't romanticised such as Slater's and Andy Irons' were, they weren't noble affairs that 'brought out the best in each other'. More often, sportsmanship was replaced by gamesmanship as each as surfer adopted a win-at-all-costs approach.

It first came to a head in Puerto Rico 2010, with Slater heading towards his tenth title while the pros and punters fawned. In a three-way no elimination round, ADS copped an interference from excess hassling, with Slater giving him a serve in the post-heat interview.

"No-one likes competing against him," said Slater, and it wasn't meant as a compliment.

The two again exchanged words at Trestles in 2011 when Slater, due to surf a heat after ADS, confronted him in the water about his excessive hassling of Taj Burrow. Later that year, ADS beat Slater in Portugal where he expressed no hard feelings, saying, “ [Kelly] is a living legend and to be competing against him at this level is more than a dream come true. He has pushed me more than any other surfer and I owe him a lot."

ADS's pluck was never more evident than in 2015 when he went into the last event, the Pipe Masters, rated third. There were six surfers with a mathematical shot at the title and, owing to a lean track record at Pipe, ADS had the longest odds. However, hassling wasn't the only way ADS got over the top of tough competition, he was also prepared to swallow humble pie.

Admitting he needed help, ADS stayed at Jamie O'Brien's house and employed him to improve his Pipe game. Even at 28-years old he was a willing student, and his sacrifice paid off winning both the world title and the Pipe Masters - one of the few surfers to do the double.

Later in his career, ADS was still willing to alter and improve his style, notably losing the double-pump bottom turn for single, extended arcs. It was an adjustment that, in 2013, helped him become the first Brazilian to win Bells. On the presentation stage, he rang the trophy with such gusto the bell broke.

About his forthcoming retirement, ADS said, "A number of things made me come to this decision, for the past 15 years, I gave my life to surfing and was completely dedicated. I lived surfing in a 1000% way. Competing without passion is not the attitude of a champion, and it doesn't match with the energy of the sport. Now I would like to try some other things, like being part of a special event without so much pressure or go on a surf trip with friends.”

Though history indicates that the coronavirus will throw shade on Mineirinho's retirement, we'd like to see the little fella's new and improved act one more time, or even just get up in the grill of a heavyweight.

Comments

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 9:55am

Nice write up Stu. Pipe master, world Champ, Bells Champ.
Bloody good effort

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:00am

"ADS qualified for the CT in 2006, and he was one of the very few surfers in the noughties who was intimidated by Kelly Slater's presence."

You mean wasn't?

But yeah, nice epitaph.

could make a case that ADS has been the most improved surfer on the CT over the last decade.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:00am

Ha ha ha...those two little letters make a difference, hey?

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:07am

Great surfer, did it the hard way against the odds. As mentioned, did whatever it took to improve areas of perceived weakness and can look back on his career knowing he squeezed every last drop out of himself to achieve what he did. A world champion no less!

Good luck to him I reckon.

mick-burnside's picture
mick-burnside's picture
mick-burnside commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:07am

Great person and surfer .....reading about where he grew up, and how it shaped him inspires me....love watching his bottom turns at bells.... ADS is a legend.

mick b

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:16am

The Kade Simpson of the WSL.

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 11:00am

Except no flag for Kade - go Blues :-)

Yep ADS will go down as a legendary competitive surfer.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Sunday, 20 Sep 2020 at 1:06pm

Craig > as a carlton supporter I completely get that joke - thank you - very funny. > RR

On yah ADS > you fought your way out of the favella's to the very top of your chosen sport. I salute you. I don't like to hassle at all - but I didn't start from where he did.

wbat's picture
wbat's picture
wbat commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:49am

Why is it "the surest sign that pro surfing will be cancelled next year"?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:52am

Because of ADS' uncanny ablity to have the limelight tugged away from him.

dr-surf's picture
dr-surf's picture
dr-surf commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 10:54am

ADS is the only CT Surfer to have some Good Footage of him surfing Johanna Vic Aust.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nygmB3V-LAo
That a Big Win Right There.

Max Wells's picture
Max Wells's picture
Max Wells commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 12:52pm

Great surfer and quality person.

syril500's picture
syril500's picture
syril500 commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:01pm

A worthy champion and good bloke in the surf as well

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 1:48pm

Stu, I remember he was your pick the year he won the world title if the brain is still working. You called how tough and blue collar he was and that he was way underrated. Heared him interviewed on Dirty Water and seems a pretty normal guy and you gotta love that he needled Kelly. He must have been a lonely man on the circuit in those days if he was pissing Taj and Kelly off.

dazzler's picture
dazzler's picture
dazzler commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 3:16pm

If I remember correctly he schooled KS in a quarter final at solid Mainbreak maybe 2016?

ADS was able pick off the bombs whilst Kelly struggled to get a wave. He was on his backup board which was clearly too small.

He has no issues in solid surf. Great competitor

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:48pm

Good article.

Definitely most improved and a worthy title winner.

I can't recall when but watching Ads surf I was thinking to myself how pleasing to the eye his style had become. Really smooth and radical and definitely not worthy of the derogatory title of "typical Brazilian".

Always seemed like a good bloke too irrespective of the gamesmanship.

1173

Taylor John's picture
Taylor John's picture
Taylor John commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 4:58pm

Good on ya ADS the brazo who I was stoked to see get a title.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:16pm

Great champ, good human, and easily the most improved style of all on the tour - as several others have noted. All the best, Mine!

It would be nice to see Kelly redeem himself by giving Adriano a proper compliment.

Very nice words, too, Stu.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Thursday, 17 Sep 2020 at 6:48pm

Good comment IB and I agree. It never occurred to me at the time when KS dropped his ranch clip the day after Ads was crowned champ. One would hope it wasn't out of spite. If it was, regardless of world titles won you'd have to call into question the GOAT moniker. I've always been a huge Kelly fanboy but Ads won his title through sheer hard slog. You always have to love the underdog.

1173

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 18 Sep 2020 at 10:27am

With you Zen and Taylor his style is really pleasing to the eye now. Draws out his turns and got rid of any unnecessary hyperactivity.