- WSL / Kirstin Scholtz
Just weeks after becoming the 2015 World Champion, De Souza celebrated another big moment in his life. De Souza announced his marriage Monday on Instagram. - WSL

Just when it seemed Adriano de Souza's year couldn't get any better, it did: On Monday he married his girlfriend, model Patricia Eike, in a civil ceremony. Their wedding ceremony is planned for late January.

"Today I signed the hardest contract in my life," he wrote on Instagram. "I'm not a single man."

A Hero's Welcome
After 10 years on the Championship Tour, Adriano de Souza won his first World Title. Fans on home turf gave him a hero's welcome.

De Souza's marriage comes after a year in which he returned from both physical injury and emotional heartbreak. In November 2014, he withdrew from the Billabong Pipe Masters to attend to a recurring knee issue. At the time he wrote, prophetically, "I promise that I will do everything I can to be competing for the World Title next year. My dream isn't over yet, it was just postponed."

But soon after the new year De Souza suffered another blow. Ricardo dos Santos, one of his closest friends, was fatally shot near his home in Brazil. De Souza was distraught, but channeled his sense of loss into his commitment to surfing and drive to become a World Champion.

De Souza's Special Dedication
Before an incredible season this past year, De Souza suffered a profound loss when his friend and fellow surfer Ricardo dos Santos was fatally shot.

In his post-win interview with Rosy Hodge, an emotional De Souza dedicated his Title to Dos Santos, revealing that he had the same tattoo as his fallen friend, in the same spot on his arm. Translated to English, the tattoo said Strength, Balance, Love.

He explained, "That's all I needed this year to win the World Title."

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