Written by: Shannon Marie
Messias Felix (BRA) 26, was proud to take home the win in Portugal this weekend, in a Brazilian final with two fierce competitors determined to reorder the current world rankings. Prepare to welcome new Brazilian names to the top surfing elite.
Felix defeated Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 22, this weekend to finish the SATA Airlines Azores Pro 2o12 in excellent 4-5 ft surf. The Brazilian final took place on the Santa Barbara beach in San Miguel of the Azores Islands, Portugal. The inaugural Star Tour victory for Felix means 3.500 points and a $25,000 prize, moving his rank up to #67 in the world and stirring up the orders of the top 34 as the Azores Island 6-Star event points are added.
Northern Californian Nat Young (USA) took third in the event, battling Brazilians head on but shut down by Felix in the semis. Although disappointed not the take the first seed, with his excellent results from Portugal, Young now secures himself in a cozy #19 position in the world rankings, proving himself worthy of the Dream Tour.
“There’s going to be a party in Brazil right now!” Messias Felix exlaimed after the results were in. Things started looking up for the Brazilian at mid-heat when he took off on an intermediate lefthander and launched an impressive and high air-reverse to score a 7.93 and claim back the heat lead from Dantas. With only 10 minutes left in the final, Felix found a perfect righthander and put aside his air game for a more traditional powersurfing approach which was rewarded with a 7.00 point ride that gave him the heat lead and eventually the event win today.
“I’m over the moon. This is my first time winning a 6-Star event, and it was against my best friend, Wiggolly,” stated Felix. The two finalists have been training together on their stay during the competition. “I just want to thank God for being here with me and looking after me and my family. I know everybody at home is probably watching this on the internet and they must be going crazy!”
“I just keep believing and never give up, then waves come to me. It’s all about patience; you have to wait for the good opportunities and make the most of it. I made a good air, and then I got this great right with a couple of turns. Now I’m just going to enjoy the Azores with all my friends and then I’m off to Pantin and the Canarias.”
As opposed to most professional surfers who are travelling with a collection of several different boards, Felix has been showing up to the event’s site every day with the same board he’s been using for over a year now. All dented and yellowed by the long sun hours it has seen, his magic board has once again delivered for Felix in the final today.
“This board only touches the water for contests, because I know it’s so easy to break, but I love it. I’ve had it for a year and a half, and I think that’s a lucky one! I’ve had a great time here and I want to thank my family, my sponsor Pena and everybody here for the support!”
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 22, event runner-up, opened his wave account in the final with an excellent 8.50 in the first minutes, starting on a solid righthander set wave which he destroyed with two massive backside turns in the critical sections of the wave. It took him time to find another wave that offered the same potential for a high score, and unfortunately his timing was off on the first turn which resulted in an average back-up score of a 4.77.
“I’m very happy for Messias; it’s his first win!” Dantas said. “I had a good right and I thought I could make two turns, but the wave kind of barreled and sometimes it’s hard to read it. You plan something and something else comes, but it’s a really good result.” Sitting in 40th position on the ASP Men’s World Rankings before competing here at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro, Dantas clinches his second best result of the year and will move up to eye the qualification zone for the coveted ASP World Championship Tour.
“I drop a low result here and replace it with a good one, so now I’m getting closer to the World Tour qualification and I’m just going to have to stay focused for the next event in the Canary Islands and later for the Primes in Hawaii!”
Hodei Collazo (EUK) 28, currently ranked 94th on the World Rankings, had an amazing run this week at the SATA Airlines Azores Pro that was unfortunately stopped by event runner-up Wigolly Dantas. Netting his best result of 2012 so far, Collazo gets a confidence boost before the second to last European event next week in Galicia.
“Incredible!” shouted Collazo. “I got the waves, I had the perfect board, felt really good and I got a good result!”
Collazo had to defeat one of his best friends, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), in an all-European quarter-final matchup Sunday morning to win his ticket for the semis, and put on an incredible performance finding a near-perfect ride rewarded 9.33 out of 10.
“We always travel together along with Aritz, Gony and Marlon during the whole tour,” Collazo informe. “It’s only the second time we surfed a man-on-man heat together. Last time was in Brazil four or five years ago and the waves were pumping. I had a 9 and an 8 and he beat me with his last wave. This time around was the contrary, and it was so much fun to be with your best mate out there in the quarters.”
Surf conditions on the Azores Islands were coorperating with the competition. “I love the waves here; it’s always powerful and you get barrels even when it’s not too big,” Collazo shared. “It feels great to have a result when the waves are that good!”
Nat Young (USA) 21, one of the most exciting surfers to watch this past week, was defeated in the first semi-final today but clinches an important third place result, that will help him solidify his position on the ASP World Rankings. The young Californian who has been posting excellent scores all week, including a 9.00 point ride in his quarter-final this morning, couldn’t find the waves he needed to let his explosive backhand express itself.
“I feel like I’ve been surfing good this whole contest, I just didn’t really get the waves that gave me the opportunity to get the scores,” stated Young. “Third place is good, even if I would have rather won… This will definitely count in my overall total.”
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Messias Felix (BRA) 14.93 - US $25,000 and 3.500 points
2 – Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.27 - US$ 12.500 and 2.640 points
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO SEMI-FINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Messias Felix (BRA) 13.00 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.80
Heat 2: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.90 def. Hodei Collazo (EUK) 5.93
SATA AIRLINES AZORES PRO QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 14.83 def. Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 12.26
Heat 2: Messias Felix (BRA) 14.66 vs Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.33
Heat 3: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.63 vs Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.33
Heat 4: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 15.66 def. Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 15.24
UPDATED TOP WORLD RANKINGS – 33 stops = 5 WCT + 6 Prime + 22 Star:
1: John John Florence (HAW) – 38.665 points
2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) – 32.315
3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) – 29.445
4: Mick Fanning (AUS) – 28.743
5: Kelly Slater (USA) – 28.725
6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) – 24.320
7: Josh Kerr (AUS) – 23.736
8: Taj Burrow (AUS) – 23.525
9: C. J. Hobgood (USA) – 22.930
10: Julian Wilson (AUS) – 22.300
11: Jordy Smith (AFR) – 21.560
12: Kai Otton (AUS) – 21.345
13: Miguel Pupo (BRA) – 20.250
14: Owen Wright (AUS) – 19.700
15: Jeremy Flores (FRA) – 19.020
16: Glenn Hall (IRL) – 18.525
17: Adrian Buchan (AUS) – 18.205
18: Filipe Toledo (BRA) – 16.405
19: Nat Young (USA) – 15.615
20: Damien Hobgood (USA) – 15.270
21: Brett Simpson (USA) – 13.490
22: Alejo Muniz (BRA) – 13.450
23: Jean da Silva (BRA) – 12.870
24: Heitor Alves (BRA) – 12.780
25: Willian Cardoso (BRA) – 12.740
26: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) – 12.550
27: Nathan Yeomans (USA) – 12.454
28: Sebastien Zietz (HAW) – 12.430
29: Granger Larsen (HAW) – 12.280
30: Kolohe Andino (USA) – 12.261
32: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) – 12.503
42: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) – 10.120
50: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) – 8.150
64: Thiago Camarão (BRA) – 6.625
67: Messias Felix (BRA) – 6.507