Surfing: Former world champion Adriano De Souza to compete at Piha Pro

Brazilian Adriano De Souza is the latest star confirmed for next month's event.
Brazilian Adriano De Souza is the latest star confirmed for next month's event. Photo credit: Getty

The inaugural Piha Pro has attracted another former world champion surfer, with Brazilian Adriano De Souza confirmed as an entrant for next month's event. 

De Souza, the 2015 world champion, joins 11-time men's champion Kelly Slater and four-time women's champion Carissa Moore for the March 16-22 competition on Auckland's west coast.

The Piha Pro is one stop on the newly announced World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series, which will see more than 100 surfers chasing spots on the elite Championship Tour in 2021.

"When I saw there was a Challenger Series event in New Zealand, I was so pumped to go, because I've never been there before," de Souza said.

"My good friend Ricardo Christie is from New Zealand, so I’m hoping he will give me some good tips.

"This event will be a great way to prepare for the Championship Tour, which starts only a week later. 

"It will be a big test, especially with names like Kelly Slater in the draw. Having multiple world champions competing at Piha is going to be sick."

The men's side of the draw will feature four of the top 20 surfers in the world, including Slater, who last competed in New Zealand in 1993, and De Souza, competing alongside Hawaiian Seth Moniz and Australian Jack Freestone.

Five of the top 10 women in the world are also in the Piha mix, with Moore, Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb, France's Johanne Defay, Hawaiian Malia Manuel and Australian Nikki Van Dijk all in action. 

"We could not be happier to have this level of field for the inaugural Piha Pro," says event director Chris Simpson. 

Adriano De Souza.
Adriano De Souza. Photo credit: World Surf League

"To be able to headline with two absolute legends in Kelly Slater and Carissa Moore, we just could not ask for more. It’s going to be mind-blowing." 

Christie and Paige Hareb will provide the Kiwi flavour - both hope to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics - along with new national champion Elliot Paerata-Reid, Kehu Butler, Billy Stairmand and Ella Williams.

Four more New Zealanders are guaranteed entry, with two male and two female surfers to emerge from a March 15 national trial to earn the right to compete against the world's best.