“It’s an incredible feeling and so special in dedication to my good friend Ricardo dos Santos. I have this tattoo in memory of him — he had the same tattoo that said ‘Strength, Balance and Love,’ and that’s all I needed to win this World Title. This is all in dedication to my brother as well, who bought me my first surfboard for seven dollars and now I’m on top of the world. What a dream to be a Pipeline Champion Master like Jamie [O’Brien] and Kelly [Slater] and Bede Durbidge, just so many names going through my brain now. There’s no words to describe how I’m feeling right now.
About midway through the year I thought Mick deserved the World Title more than me. He’s such a strong man and a three-time World Champ battling me for my first title was scary. I just wanted to give my best wishes to Mick and his mom — I had such a mix of emotions, but the day of my life has arrived.”