After 6 days of intense competition the 45 top surfers competing at Imbituba, Santa Catarina were whittled down to 2. Along the way ASP tour rookie Jadson Andre from Guaruja, Brazil defeated the Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez and American elite surfer Dane Reynolds on his path to come up against the legendary Kelly Slater.
Slater's path wasn't smooth either, having to take out South African Jordy Smith who always lingers in the tours top 5, and Aussie rookie Owen Wright who wowed the surf crowds last year when he finished 3rd at Ripcurl's the Search in Peniche. However when it came down to the wire, it was Andre who found the edge over Slater, winning with 14.40 points to Slater's 14.00 points out of a possible 20. Yep- it really was that close.
So what does Andre's surprise win in Brazil do to the tour rankings? After stop number 3, things are looking interesting. Andre's victory propels the goofy footer up to 4th place, equalling Mick Fanning's points total for the year. However, the big repercussion of the Brazilian competition is that after Slater becoming runner-up, Slater has now taken the lead in the rankings.... a very dangerous position for the other 44 surfers on tour, especially with Slater's record of then going on to dominate the remainder of the season and claim title after title. Can we hear the sound of a 10th world title in the pipeline for Slater? We will all have to see how things unfold when the tour travels to South Africa and to the beautiful spot of Jeffreys Bay, where Billabong will hold its next competition for the ASP from 15th of July.
As things stand after the 3rd event, the top 10 is looking slightly different, Slater leads, but Jordy Smith isn't that far behind him, and Taj Burrows who lead the rankings for the 1st 2 events of the year has now slipped to 3rd...
1. Kelly Slater (USA) - 21,730 points
2. Jordy Smith (AUS) - 18,500 points
3. Taj Burrow (AUS) - 18,250 points
4. Mick Fanning (AUS) - 15,500 points
5. Jadson Andre (BRA) - 15,500 points
6. Bobby Martinez (USA) - 14,750 points
7. Dane Reynolds (USA) - 14,750 points
8. Joel Parkinson (AUS) - 14,250 points
9. Adriano De Souza (BRA) - 14,250 points
10. Bede Durbidge (AUS) - 12,250 points
And where are the Europeans in this list, we hear you ask? Well, they are keeping each other company at spot 20 in the rankings, after Pires finished 17th in the Santa Catatrina Pro, and Flores improved with a 9th place finish. They are both hanging in there, but need a real boost to achieve a better result at Jeffreys Bay in July:
20- Tiago Pires (PRT) 7250 points
20- Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7250 points
Take a look at the final at Imbituba, and see for yourself just how close the showdown between Andre and Slater really was...