Adriano de Souza has just clinched his first world title on the way to winning the Billabong Pipe Masters.
In his ten years on tour, Adriano has showed a dedication and commitment to the sport that few of his peers have matched.
Until this week all that hard work had netted him considerable success with three top five finishes, but not his lifelong goal of being the champion.
At Pipeline, in conditions that ranged from ginormous to plain tricky, de Souza finally realised his ultimate dream. Here are eight reasons why the Brazilian is the 2015 World Champion.
1) He's Come A Long Way From His First Seven Dollar Surfboard
It was fitting that Adriano de Souza gave tribute to his elder brother, the day after his main rival Mick Fanning had tragically lost his. “I want to dedicate this world title to my brother," said De Souza between tears on the sand in front of Pipeline after his win.
“He bought me my first surfboard for seven dollars. And I’m on the top of the world with seven dollars. I believe at that time for him, seven dollars was too much money, and he bought me my first surfboard."
I want to dedicate this world title to my brother
2) He Is Dedicated To Pipeline
Two years ago Adriano de Souza tasked himself with winning the Pipe Masters.
That year, without a sponsor and with nowhere to stay in Hawaii he asked to stay at legendary Pipe surfer Jamie O’Brien’s house, which is located directly in front of the break. O’Brien agreed, and has taken on a mentoring role ever since.
He stayed for four months in Hawaii, and each year has come back to stay at O’Brien's and surf Pipeline every time it broke. That dedication paid off when de Souza claimed the Billabong Pipe Masters yesterday, and with it, his first world title.
3) He Got A Bit Lucky
While de Souza’s dedication and preparation are legendary, you still need a little luck when entering the biggest even your life. “I was lucky with the draw at Pipe, I'll admit, and I thank God for that," he told RedBull.com afterwards.
While Mick Fanning had to initially overcome legendary Pipe surfers like Sebastian Zeits, Bruce Irons, Jamie O’Brien, Kelly Slater and John John Florence, Adriano de Souza faced Jack Robinson, Glenn Hall and Josh Kerr.
“I respect every single guy I compete against, no doubt, but because of the way the draw played out Jamie was telling me, 'You're the man, take it over brah, you got this!'"
The victory of course was totally deserved, but every now and again on the big occasions a little bit of luck can make a huge difference.
4) He Was Driven By The Death Of His Friend Ricardo Dos Santos
Not that ADS needed any extra motivation, but in 2015 he was driven by the memory of his good friend Ricardo dos Santos, who was shot dead in Brazil earlier in the year.
“It’s an incredible feeling and so special in dedication to my good friend Ricardo dos Santos," de Souza said after his final win. “I have this tattoo in memory of him -- he had the same tattoo that said, ‘Strength, Balance and Love,’ and that’s all I needed to win this World Title.
5) He Had A Great Start And A Great Finish
While the climax to the year was special, de Souza’s world title victory was set up by an electric start to the year.
In the three event Australian leg, the Brazilian placed third on the Gold Coast, second at Bells and then won in Margaret River.
Fanning pegged him back during the middle part of the year, but it was that platform that meant de Souza was always going to be in the hunt for the world title.
6) He's A Gnarly Tenacious Competitor
Adriano doesn’t go in for the cosy competitive vibe that a lot of the top 32 surfers have. While he respects his peers and is friends with many, once in the water it tends to be all out war.
“Adriano de Souza is the gnarliest competitor on tour for sure," Taj Burrow told Mpora. “No one hassles harder or gets in your grill like Adriano."
De Souza is famous establishing first priority in heats, and will paddle for miles rather than give it up. It doesn’t always endear him to his fellow competitors or some fans, but it is this tenacity that eventually landed him surfing’s top prize.
7) Success Is All In The Detail
No one has perhaps worked harder for a world title than Adriano. This was 10th year on tour, and each year has come with a level of preparation and training that few of his peers can match.
“It's definitely not easy to win on this tour, “de Souza told RedBull.com. When you have people in the way like three-time world champ Mick Fanning and reigning world champ Gabriel Medina, or someone like Filipe Toledo who has won three events this year, I say to myself, 'I have to run faster than those guys, I have to wake up earlier than those guys, I have to do everything better than those guys.' A championship is made up of tiny details."
8) He Never Stops Improving
You’d think after winning the world title and Pipe Masters on the same day, there might be some time to relax and celebrate. No chance.
“Tomorrow everything resets to zero and I need to get back on track to do well at Snapper," he told RedBull.com.
“I think I'm going to stay here in Hawaii until January. I want to practice. There are things I need to improve at Pipe. It will be hard breaking it to my wife, but at least now I have a world title I think I can have more of a say!"