Words courtesy World Surf League

All photos: WSL Kirstin/Rowland

Three-time World Surf League Champion Mick Fanning has claimed the 2015 WSL Jeep Leader Jersey after squaring off against then-ratings’ leader Adriano de Souza in a hotly-contested Final at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. On the women’s side, two-time WSL Women’s Champion Carissa Moore bested South African Bianca Buitendag to take the Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles, her third Championship Tour victory of the season, and take the ratings’ lead heading into Europe.

The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro, stops No. 8 and 7 respectively on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League Championship Tour, enjoyed classic California conditions during the opening days of the competition window, allowing the world’s best athletes to raise the bar on high-performance surfing. While conditions today were a departure from those enjoyed during the initial rounds, the performances of the WSL elite remained razor sharp and the competitive nerves steely.

From the start of the Hurley Pro Final Fanning looked in rhythm and at ease. De Souza was left in need of two good scores to put himself back in the heat after Fanning posted a near-perfect 9.77 for a series of clean and powerful turns. The Brazilian battled back with some critical surfing of his own to escape the combination with a 9.07 and powered back to the lineup to hunt down the 8.38 he needed to topple Fanning. He couldn’t find the score however, and it was Fanning that claimed the win. The final scores were 17.44 (7.67 and 9.77) for Fanning to De Souza’s 16.44 (7.37 and 9.07).

“This has been a great event for me,” Fanning said. “I came in early and we had amazing waves. I’ve had such a great support team here so I’ve been having a lot of fun. My mum’s been here too which has been really special.”

“It’s been wild year for me,” said Fanning. “This wave and this event are all about performance. To walk away with this trophy is really special. I want to congratulate Adriano -- he surfed amazing and he always puts up a huge fight.”

“Every heat has it’s challenges,” continued Fanning. “From the first heat, to Round 3 against Kolohe Andino and then Kelly, Ace Buchan and Gabriel. When you’re surfing on the Championship Tour you surf against the best in the world. A fourth world title won’t be easy, especially when I have to surf against people like Adriano.

De Souza became the first Brazilian to make a Final at the Hurley Pro today and adds another great result to his season despite dropping down one place on the Jeep Leaderboard to No. 2.

“It’s very special to make the Final with a legend like Mick Fanning,” said De Souza. “We had such a good battle out there. We were both fighting but outside the heat we are both friends. I’m really happy to be part of this Final and thanks so much to everyone for coming down. Big congratulations to Mick, he’s just so good. I tried to make a comeback with my last wave but it wasn’t to be. I’m still chasing my first world title and this result will definitely help.”

De Souza previously went head-to-head with event standout Filipe Toledo in an all-Brazilian Semifinal. A passionate De Souza stamped his authority on the heat with an excellent 8.33 but Toledo closed the gap with an 8-point ride of his own. The pair each took a wave in the final seconds but Toledo didn’t get the score required and goes home in third place, moving up on place to No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I think that was a really close heat,” said Toledo. “I knew Adriano would be a really tough guy to beat because he’s got a lot of confidence at the moment. I’m stoked with the result and now I’m focusing on France.”

Fanning dispatched reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina in the second Semifinal. Medina’s pair of 8-point rides couldn’t match Fanning’s impressive 18.17 heat total. Today’s result for Medina is his best ever at Lower Trestles and he moves up from 10th to 7th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

Hurley Pro Final Results:

1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.44

2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.44

Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:

QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.46 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.27

QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.17 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.54

Hurley Pro Quarterfinal Results:

QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.66 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.90

QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.83

QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.13 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.50

QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.34 def. Nat Young (USA) 9.44

RECAP: HEAT ANALYSER

2015 Men’s WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Hurley Pro):

1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 44,700 pts

2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,950 pts

3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 38,400 pts

4: Owen Wright (AUS) 38,400 pts

5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 34,950 pts