- WSL / Kirstin
- WSL / Kirstin
The 2015 WSL World Champions, Carissa Moore and Adriano de Souza, with trophies and keys to new Jeeps. Photo: Cestari Carissa Moore and Adriano de Souza each nabbed brand new WSL World Championship Trophies as well as a set of keys to new Jeep vehicles. - WSL / Cestari

World Champions Adriano de Souza and Carissa Moore were honored at the WSL's annual Gold Coast gala with their newly designed world championship trophies. The stunning works of art mounted on koa wood include engraved names of all former world champions. The design also includes sand from each of the beaches where all previous world champions were groomed.

Trophy Tribute: 40 Years of Champions
Current and former World Champions recall the special meaning of their moments on top.

The historic evening was attended by a number of former world champions and surfing greats as the WSL celebrates the beginning of surfing's 40th year. The world's best surfers looked sharp dressed in their red-carpet garb, and enjoyed a swanky dinner while enjoying the touching speeches and nods to several of the 2015 season standouts.

American surfer Greg Long, the newly minted 2015/2016 Big Wave Tour Champion. Photo: Kirstin Big Wave Tour Champion, Greg Long. - WSL / Kirstin

Adriano de Souza paid tribute to his heroes in the room, his late friend Ricardo de Santos, and his family members and friends who supported him through the incredible highs and lows that make up his amazing journey.

Adriano's Journey to the Top
Congratulations Adriano de Souza, the 2015 World Champion.

He recounted his humble beginnings: from the hopelessness of his neighborhood and its muddy streets, to the seven-dollar surfboard that gave him purpose, and the time when he was 14-years-old, couldn't speak a word of english, and headed to South Africa on his own with his family's blessing. When he arrived he was stuck for 18 hours waiting for his ride to show up. Where most would have lost their mind, Adriano was already mature enough to see that struggle as a learning experience.

Three-time World Champ Mick Fanning and incoming CT rookie Jack Freestone share a moment before the WSL Awards. Photo: Sherman Coolie kids Mick Fanning and Jack Freestone. - WSL

De Souza's larger message was one of great encouragement to anyone chasing a dream. He noted how he's never once appeared on the cover of an international surf magazine. Never once appeared on a giant poster in a store window, and he's never once been considered a favorite to win an event. Yet that none of that stopped him from achieving his dream.

Adriano de Souza, after telling the crowd he had achieved his childhood dream (and not to forget theirs). Photo: Cestari Adriano takes center stage as his childhood dreams come true. - WSL / Cestari

Ultimately, it was Mick Fanning, the man De Souza edged for his historic title, who put Adriano's year in perspective. "One thing a lot of people don't know is that when Adriano heard about what happened to me at J-Bay, he was already at the airport and checked in for his flight. But he turned around and drove all the way back from Port Elizabeth to come and be with me...that's a huge testament to his character...and I love you brother."

Carissa Takes Three
Congratulations Carissa Moore, the 2015 Women's World Champion.

The rest of the evening was equally inspiring, with great speeches from Carissa Moore and Big-Wave World Champion Greg Long. World Longboard Champions Rachael Tilly and Piccolo Clemente, and World Junior Champions Lucas Silveira and Isabella Nichols were also honored.

Heat of the Year
Amid the many in 2015, there was no beating this classic clash.

Between it all, several of the year's best heats, moves, and breakout performances were celebrated as well, with John John Florence, Mick Fanning, and Kelly Slater taking Heat-Of-The-Year honors for their epic 4th Round clash at Pipeline. Florence took the honor in stride, "I got third in the heat," he laughed, "and this is the third year in a row I've earned this award for losing."

Heat of the Year winners. Fanning and Florence shared the stage for their Heat of the Year honor. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

Red Carpet Rulers

Coco Ho, Malia Manuel, and Carissa Moore. Photo: Sherman Hawaiian pride: Coco Ho, Malia Manuel, and Carissa Moore. - WSL Australian Josh Kerr, who was nominated for men's Move of the Year, with his daughter, Sierra, and wife, Nikki. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt The Kerr family. - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt Incoming CT rookie Caio Ibelli and his partner, CT veteran Alessa Quizon, hit the carpet. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt Caio Ibelli and Alessa Quizon - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt
Aussie Matt Wilkinson, who's known for both his sense of humor and his fun with fashion, with his partner at the WSL Awards. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt Matt Wilkinson. - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt American surfers Kolohe Andino (left) and Nat Young, with their red-carpet dates.  Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt Kolohe Andino, Nat Young, and friends. - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt Julian Wilson and his fiancée, Ashley Osborne, hitting the red carpet. Julian Wilson and Ashley Osborne. - WSL / Ridgley Hewitt John John Florence, who won for Heat of the Year -- despite, as he noted in his speech, losing the heat. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt John John Florence - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt
Rachael Tilly, bright on the carpet before being honored as the women's World Longboard Champion. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt World Longboard Champion, Rachael Tilly. - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt Adriano de Souza and his wife, Patricia Eicke. The two were married in February, just two months after De Souza won his first-ever World Title. Photo: Ridgely- Hewitt Adriano de Souza and his new bride, Patricia Eicke. - WSL / Kirstin Scholtz From left, Aussie CT ladies Dimity Stoyle, Laura Enever, Stephanie Gilmore and friends. Photo: Ridgley-Hewitt Stephanie Gilmore and friends. - WSL / Ridgley-Hewitt World Champions Carissa Moore and Adriano de Souza, with the newly designed, 40th anniversary WSL trophies. Photo: Kirstin 2015 World Champions. - WSL / Kirstin
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