Brazilian drums beat
ON the eve of the second last ASP WCT event, the Nova Schin, and the most anticipated world title dual between six-times world champ Kelly Slater (USA) and defending world champ Andy Irons, the drums are hitting fever pitch at Florianopolis, Brazil.
As far as the world title race goes Andy Irons has to win and when asked what his strategy was, the simple answer was to win.
Slater only needs to finish one round in front of Irons to claim his seventh world title, and Kelly is the first person to admit - if anyone can pull this one out of the bottom of the bag, Andy can.
This time last year in Brazil, Irons claimed his third consecutive world title, but if he fails against Kelly, Slater will be crowned world champ in Brazil.
When Occy won the world title in 1999 he also claimed victory in Brazil.
Joel Parkinson is back after three months recovering with a grade three medial tear to his knee and as one of the Billabong A-team like Andy, Parko has vowed to make Slater's tilt that little bit harder.
Parkinson played a key role in the 2003 world title won by Irons at Pipeline.
Joel, who placed second in the final, helped Irons to win by blocking Slater who finished a disappointing fourth.
Slater needed to win to claim the world title and the closest world title race to date.
What makes Nova Schin even more explosive than a Rio carnival is the record number of Brazilian surfers who have been granted entry due to the number of injured WCT surfers and those who for whatever reason have pulled out of the event.
There are 19 Brazilian surfers now entered, compared with 15 Australian existing WCT pro's in the draw.
The daunting fact is that the Brazilian surfing revolution has hit and they are cracking the big time with their latest stars and are emerging as the new number one surfing nation, a position traditionally dominated by Australia, until Kelly Slater and Andy Irons arrived to spoil the OZ reign.
Now the Brazilians are knocking on the door.
The new young guns from Brazil are fired up and could play a big part in unsettling Slater and Irons.
Potential world beaters in the draw include Adriano de Souza, Pedro Henrique, Pablo Paulino and Jihad Khodr to name a few spoilers.
Take a look at the recent stats and the boys from Brazil are dominating.
Adriano "Mineirinho" de Souza is leading the WQS ratings by almost 3000 points ahead of Australia's Shaun Cansdell.
The recent winner of the Onbongo six-star WQS was Heitor Alves, virtually unknown who defeated fellow Brazilian WCT pro Raoni Monteiro in the final in front of a hugely passionate crowd likened to a soccer match.
Snapper's Josh Kerr was Australia's highest placed in equal ninth.
The week before at the four-star WQS Reef Classic, Billabong's latest star Pedro Henrique won his way into next year's ASP world championship tour.
The week before that Jefferson Silva won the world ISA junior u/18 title and so far this year Brazil has won the Billabong world professional title for the second year in a row with Pablo Paulino and their 14 year old Wiggolly Dantas won the Rip Curl World Super grommet title.
In terms of qualifying for next year's ASP world tour at least five Brazilians are in the running.
Compare this to three Australians, Candsdell, Ace Buchan and Micro Hall.
The big question is will a Brazilian win the Nova Schin on home soil and play a hand in the Slater vs. Irons World title race.
THE Cabarita Boardriders will play host to this weekend's 10th annual Rip Curl into Summer Junior challenge.
To enter contact Donna Wilson by phoning 0428761583 or (02) 66761583.