South African surfing star Jordy Smith narrowly missed out on the 2013 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title on Tuesday, falling to eventual winner Adriano de Souza by just 0.04 of point in the semi-finals at Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia.
The 25-year-old Smith was one of the form surfers throughout the event, consistently landing high-scoring rides. However, it was just not enough against the Brazilian.
"Definitely disappointed that the score [an impressive 18.40 out of 20] didn't come in for me at the end," Smith said afterwards. "I really wanted to ring that bell and felt like I've been surfing well all week.
"Congrats to Adriano though. He's been ripping. Everyone's been ripping and there have been some interesting results. It makes the year interesting. I'll take the momentum into Brazil."
De Souza claimed the title by defeating American rookie Nat Young 16.26 to 15.83 in the final in clean three-to-five foot waves to become the first South American winner in the event's 52-year history.
"This is the most important event on tour to me," De Souza said. "Guys like Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, my hero Mick Fanning, they have all rung the bell. I have been coming here a lot of years. I love the place.
"It has been a tough time for me recently. I started 2013 without a sponsor for the first time in many years. I had to believe in myself that a company would believe in me and one did. I have to say thanks to Pena for believing in me. I have a lot of people to thank, but all I want to do right now is ring the bell."
It was a career-best result for runner-up Young. "It was a huge event for me," he said. "Just to be in the field is a dream for me. Ive looked up to the surfers in this event my whole life. The event has such a history behind it and I was honestly just excited to be here.
"Making the final, I don't even have words for it. Of course I wanted to win it. I want to ring the bell as much as anyone else on tour. Didn't get to it this year, but a runner-up finish is a big result for me and I'll take that into the next one."
The next stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) will be the Billabong Rio Pro from 8 to 19 May.
ASP WCT STANDINGS
(Following Completion of Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach)
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 11 750 pts
2. Mick Fanning (Aus) 11 700
2. Taj Burrow (Aus) 11 700
4. Adriano de Souza (Bra) 10 500
5. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 9 750
6. Nat Young (USA) 9 750
7. Jordy Smith (RSA) 8 250
18 Travis Logie (RSA) 4 500