CLOUDBREAK, Tavarua/Fiji (Tuesday, May 28, 2013) â€“ Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, is the current frontrunner in the race for the 2013 ASP World Title. Following a win at Bells and Runner-Up in Rio, the Brazilian hero is leading the world's best surfers heading into Fiji, where he put in an amazing performance against the ASP Top 34 last year to finish 5th in iconic Cloudbreak conditions. While much of the world is focusing on the flock of Brazilian super talent recently turning heads on the ASP WCT, De Souza remains the shepherd of the young South American uprising currently taking the world by storm.
Entering the upcoming Volcom Fiji Pro, De Souza has discovered elevated motivation and inspiration brought on by Brazil's next generation, but is managing to maintain a mature demeanor as ASP World No. 1. Entering Fiji, De Souza remains hyper focused and has arrived at the Fijian paradise early to adapt to the open ocean conditions expected for the upcoming event. The ASP caught up with De Souza to hear what's on his mind entering the South Pacific leg of the ASP WCT. Thisâ€¦ is his storyâ€¦
Brazilian surfing has improved exponentially and you've clearly had a big part in inspiring the next generation. How important is it to you to be a leader for the next generation of Brazilians?
De Souza: Absolutely, I feel proud to be able to show the professional that I am within the sport while being part of this new generation at the top of the world. I believe that Brazil is well represented on the WCT and hopefully continues so until the end of the year.
There is a lot of talk about the young Brazilians like Gabriel, Miguel, Alejo and Filipe and how progressive they are, but your air game has really been refined over the last few years. Do you look to that younger generation as your progressive inspiration?
They are my source of inspiration. Filipe and Gabriel are leading the pack of the new generation not to mention Alejo, Miguel and Raoni are top of the line surfers.
This is not your first time at No. 1 on the rankings, as you led after Brazil in 2011. How much pressure comes with being the leader on the world title race? Also, now that you've been there before, do you feel more comfortable this year in the number one position?
I'm fairly calm, I know it is very difficult to maintain what I've been doing, but you can be sure that I will put 100 percent effort into making that happen.
Since a Brazilian has never won a World Title, does that change your outlook at all? Do you feel there is more pressure to be the first to win for Brazil?
I don't feel pressure to be the champion, I just want to be the champion, I can be the 2nd or 3rd Brazilian to achieve it, that doesn't matter much to me, my objective is to win and I hope to do it.
Confidence and momentum go hand in hand and you've made the final in the last two events. That must have you in a pretty amazing place mentally. How much does that confidence play a role as you enter Fiji?
I am definitely going through a strong moment in my life and confidence does play a role. I know that too much confidence can also backfire. I feel like I have just the right amount at this point. Fiji will be a tough event, I hope I can accomplish what I've set out to do.
Looking ahead, we have the Volcom Fiji Pro next on the schedule and that was a great event for you last year, ending up with a Quarterfinals finish and that amazing heat with C.J. Hobgood. What are your thoughts, and anticipations heading in to Fiji for this year?
The competition against C.J. last year was incredible, I consider C.J to be one of the favorites to win this event. He has a very aggressive surfing style while taking on the left of Cloudbreak. In that event I felt like I developed a new level of maturity having lost the way I did. Now if it happens again, I probably will not give chances to any surfer of the same caliber as C.J.
In between Bells and Rio, you spent some time in Indo. Do you feel that time in heavier conditions recently gives you an edge when you go to Fiji?
Surely, it is always good to go to Indonesia, enjy those perfect waves and surf more than 6 hours per day. It gave me a lot of confidence to step in Rio, but now Fiji is the next step ... I look forward to the fans in Brazil for another good result.
What are you doing to prepare for the next event?
I had 20 intense days in Rio and I've had a few days to rest but I've decided to go to Fiji a bit earlier to get rid of my jet leg before competition starts.
Watch de Souza compete at the Volcom Fiji Pro, which holds a waiting period from June 2-14, 2013.