Adriano de Souza has been a leader in Brazilian surfing for nearly a decade. At 27 years old, the passionate regular-footer has logged eight seasons on the WCT, holding poll position among the world's best surfers on two separate occasions.
De Souza has proven he's hungrier than ever in 2014, making an immediate presence on the ASP Qualification Series with a Final at the Volcom Pipe Pro, a win at the Hurley Australian Open and most recently a third at the Burton Toyota Pro.
De Souza recently chimed in to share his thoughts on what the world can expect this year and talk about some changes he's made to have an edge for the 2014 season.
Last year we saw some benchmark performances for progression with Florence's alley-oop, etc, but also next level power surfing. What are we going to see in 2014 and who will lead the charge?
I really have no Idea of what's going to happen in 2014. I see those new athletes and they're really well prepared and more focused. For sure it will be a tough year for the most experienced ones because the youngsters are taking spots on top of the rankings.
Margaret River is a new stop on the CT, what are your thoughts and expectations for that event and who will be a standout?
I will go to Margaret River very motivated because it's an event that I have never done well in. My surfing has never clicked with the waves at Margaret, but I will do my best to change my bad record there. I think John (Florence) already won the event and for sure the favorites are the ones who already have a good history at Margaret.
2014 represents a new era in professional surfing. What will be different for you this year?
I'm going in to my ninth season on tour. I've learned a lot of things but this year I will have more fun and be more relaxed. My last six months, my results were lower than I expected and I had problems with my boards. I couldn't control my emotional side, but this year will be different.
We have a few rookies and some returning to the tour this year after falling off, who will be the standout?
All of them are very dangerous. No one on the tour could imagine Nat having such an awesome year in 2013. I believe that there is no favorite on the tour. If you make it to the cut, it's because you deserved it and you are really good. I see Mitch Crews as probably the rookie to watch this year.
Every year a darkhorse emerges among the world's best. Last year we saw Kai Otton and Nat Young have breakthrough performances among others. Who should fans watch out for in 2014?
I think we will see a lot of action from two Brazilian surfers: Filipe Toledo and Jadson Andre. They are two athletes that I really think (and also would like to see) have a great 2014.
We continually see slight changes in equipment. What are the board changes you've been working on for this season?
I had the great opportunity to make all my boards with Al Merrick for 2014. It has always been a dream of mine to work with him. It has been a sensational experience to surf on the boards from the world leaders in shaping. I am beginning a working relationship with them, so I don't have anything concrete for this year yet, but as the year goes by, I hope I will have more freedom and trust with and from Al Merrick to get the best equipment possible.
De Souza will compete at the season opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast from March 1-12, 2014.