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Sunday, August 26, 2012
Yet another Brazilian on top

By Jon Coen

Jean Da Silva
Jean Da Silva, yet another Brazilian to watch. And he's 27!
Preview Early round update Rounds 3,4,5 Final

With a push that started in 2011, the Brazilian presence at all levels of pro surfing has been mind-boggling -- from the new crop challenging the world's best, to Gabrielle Medina's two victories in his first half-year on tour, to the renewed vigor of Adriano de Souza. But the aspect of the whole thing that has been most insane is that no matter which Brazzo wins a Prime at Lowers or who will be the next onto the Tour, every month we're seeing young Brazilians claiming more points and prize money in pro surfing. But apparently there's a new wrinkle -- it's not just the 19-year-olds you have to watch out for. Today, Jean Da Silva won the 6-star Vans Pro, part of the Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, Va. And he's 27!

And this victory certainly wasn't handed to Da Silva. He squeaked through round three and then lost non-elimination round four to Torrey Meister, who had been one of the most in-form surfers of the event. He rebounded to beat Jack Freestone with a convincing 14.77 to 9.70. He then trounced Dege O'Connel in the quarters, Nate Yeomens in the semis (15.57-8.20) and then somehow managed to sneak past red-hot Felipe Toledo in the final.

It's been an interesting week for the ASP judges, who stared at First Street jetty for six straight long days. There was a lot of work to be done considering nearly every surfer was filling his wave quota. There were conversations about how the shorter, fatter boards chosen by many competitors should be judged. There was discussion of power vs. progression. But there was also a good bit of talk about Da Silva, the way he connected all the dots in the weak surf and the way he flowed in between moves. The judges had made note of it long before the final.

And in the final, Da Silva went straight to work on his backhand, which proved to be just .26 better than the aerial assault of Toledo, as he won 14.76-14.50.

Felipe Toledo
Felipe Toledo was runner up after winning the five-star at Lacanua on Monday.

"Filipe is the big thing now, he surfs so well and he's getting so many results and that Final was hard," Da Silva told the ASP. Indeed, Toledo just won the five-star Lacanau Pro in France on Monday. "I was never in a rhythm out there," Da Silva continued. "I was kind of lost and was just watching him get all of his waves. I was waiting patiently and couldn't find the right waves but at the end I was just ripping as hard as I could in the last few minutes and I got the scores."

Could have fooled us. Da Silva showed up in Virginia Beach a few weeks ago to learn this wave. Apparently, he got it. East Coast surfers knew that a six-star was a good thing for waveriding on the Atlantic. But they also knew that the points and $155,000 purse would bring in a new level of competition. That proved true, as there was only one East Coaster in the quarterfinal. That was V.B.'s Michael Dunphy, who missed a semifinal berth by a hair to Yeomens. Three of the four semifinalists were Brazilians.

In the Junior Pro final, also held today, 19-year-old Hawaiian Keanu Asing beat Evan Thompson, Michael February, and Taylor Clark. The Longboard event was a very interesting contrast of styles between the aggressive Taylor Jensen and the more classic Joel Tudor. Jensen's lip slamming proved to be .04 points better than Tudor's noseriding.

As we get into the home stretch of the 2012 season, the world's hardest comp shredders will not only be watching out for the next teen phenom out of Brazil, but pretty much anyone flying the yellow and green.

1 Jean Da Silva (BRA) 14.76
2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.50

SF 1: Jean Da Silva (BRA) 15.57 def. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.20
SF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.76 def. Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.20

QF 1: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.74 def. Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.60
QF 2: Jean Da Silva (BRA) 13.67 vs. Dege O'Connell (HAW) 6.67
QF 3: Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 13.37 def. Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 12.56
QF 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.40 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.27

1  Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.73
2  Evan Thompson (USA) 13.87
3  Michael February (USA) 11.87
4  Taylor Clark (USA) 9.50
SF 1: Evan Thompson (USA) 15.50, Michael February (ZAF) 11.80, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 9.23, Andrew Doheny (USA) 6.34
SF 2: Taylor Clark (USA) 12.00, Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.50, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 10.36, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 7.50