Brazil uncovers another superkid in new Billabong World Juniors champ Pablo Paulino
“Take a note,” declared the pro veteran-slash-commentator JohnnyShimooka, feet planted in the Narrabeen sand like some sort of shortmuscly Oracle. “The age of Aussie dominance is OVER!”
He didn’t need to tell that to the crowd.Pablo Paulino, 17, from Fortelaza, Brazil, had just stormed homein messy four-foot North Narrabeen surf to defeat Hawaii’s DustinCuizon on a final day that — for the first time in professional juniorsurfing’s 27 year history — featured absolutely no locals.Pablo (WHO? From WHERE??) was embraced by a stoked beach crowd, at leasthalf of whom were fellow countrymen. “Ordem E Progresso” reads thebanner on their national flag – it’s missing the bit about Passion, butthen again, maybe it’s something we’d better learn to take for grantedwith Brasilieros.
How long before a surfer from Brazil owns the WCT? On the evidenceof the Billabong World Juniors, around the end of the decade seems agood bet. The Brazilians didn’t just out-compete everyone else here -they out-surfed ‘em.
Pablo has extraordinary speed through turns and he can make those turnsinto serious crowd-pleasing events. After he won his quarterfinal heatagainst team-mate Jean da Silva with a series of huge frontsidetail-free layback snaps, he ran up the beach with a huge smile,applauded by the likes of Tom Carroll and Simon Anderson.
Up against the quiet yet relentless Cuizon in the final, Pablo didn’teven look like wilting. He took the lead and upped it with every ride,before being carried to the victory dais and delivering a very calm andcomposed speech for a 17-year-old. At least we think it was very calmand composed – it was in Portuguese. Maybe we’d all better buydictionaries before it’s too late.
Perhaps even more telling was the fact that Pablo wasn’t even remotelythe most favored Brazilian. That was Adriano de Souza, who took thisevent in 2004 and has only grown stronger and more confident in themonths since. Adriano wore a white wetsuit through the event,Slater-style, and put in a strong defense of his title. A tough win overAustralia’s Josh Kerr in round four seemed to have set up his run tovictory. But it all came unstuck in the quarters, against Marlon Lipke,from Germany.
Marlon WHO?? From WHERE?
Turns out Marlon is a German national whose parents fell for thesouthern Portugal coastline when he was a mere babe in arms. Now Marlonis a tall, powerful goofyfoot with a lot of flash in the lip and a greatfeel for the carving rail turn, and he used it to catch de Souzaunawares. “This is my best result,” he said, smiling a large Teutonicgrin. Other quarterfinalists included South African Shaun Payne,Hawaii’s T.J. Barron, and Basque surfer Artiz Aranburu, who’d accountedfor the last remaining Australian surfer, Adam Melling.
As for the other Aussies, Ben Dunn, Clint Kimmins, Travis Lynch and RyanCampbell? “Well, they made a liar out of me,” was Luke Egan’s take. BigLouie had taken the role of contest director, a role that suits hisbig-bloke authority. “I told all the newspapers the week before theevent that the Aussies would dominate,” he told Surfing. “They’retalented, but it’s like they’ve got it all already. They need tounderstand that other surfers are hungry, and you need to find thathunger to win – that’s the difference.”