The promised swell finally arrived as many of the world’s best surfers enjoyed the challenge of solid waves up to 2m, and De Souza shined as he thrashed his three Australian opponents, Nic Squires, Ryan Callinan and Mitchell James.
De Souza’s 17.70 combined two-wave tally was the highest heat score of the day, and he was full of praise for the venue in Australia.
"I love Newcastle although I haven’t surfed this event since 2008 but it is just as I remember - good waves with power," said De Souza.
"I have been in Australia for a full month working closely with my surfboard shaper Darren Handley and right now I feel good – my equipment and fitness and I am excited for the season."
Reigning world champion Joel Parkinson of Australia had another solid heat, advancing through in second place behind Brazil’s Bino Lopes.
Parkinson slipped to last place midway through the heat and had the crowd concerned, but his class soon prevailed with an excellent 8.67 ride that saw him progress comfortably.
"It was hard to know what I had to do because the winds are so strong and I could not hear the scores but I knew I needed a good wave and was always confident one would come,” he said.
"The good waves out here are very good and offer plenty of potential but getting two of them in four-man heats can be a challenge."
UPDATE: Action at Merewether Beach was called off on Friday, with the next call for the Toyota Burton Pro round of 48 scheduled for Saturday morning.
Round of 48 results
Heat 1: Bino Lopes (BRA) 14.83, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.67, Joan Duru (FRA) 13.37, Oney Anwar (IND) 10.44
Heat 2: Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.27, Felipe Toledo (BRA) 12.16, Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZ) 9.87, Thomas Hermes (BRA) 9.17
Heat 3: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.57, Jeremy Johnson (USA) 12, Kalani David (HAW) 11.44, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 11.25
Heat 4: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 16.93, Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.76 , Charles Martin (GLP)15.43, Jesse Adam (AUS) 11.67
Heat 5: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.60, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 9.93, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 9.83, Teppei Tajema (JPN) 7.16
Round of 96 results
Heat 10: Mitch Coleborn (AUS)12.83, Heitor Alves (Bra) 12.43, Davey Cathels (Aus) 12.10, Cahill Bell-Warren (Aus) 10.44
Heat 11: Keanu Asing (HAW) 12.27, Teppei Tajima (Jpn) 11.17, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 8.93, Thomas Woods (Aus) 0.00
Heat 12: Conner O’Leary (AUS) 17.93, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 16.37, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.17, Krytian Kymerson (BRA) 6.27
Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.20, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 11.83, Dale Lovelock (AUS) 10.73, Stu Kenedy (AUS) 9.77
Heat 14: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.83, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 11.76, Jordin Watson (AUS) 11, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.63
Heat 15: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 16.40, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.34, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.34, Shaun Joubert (ZAF)
Heat 16: Marco Fernandez (BRA) 14.73, Leonardro Usuna (ARG) 11.83, Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.67, Mason Ho (HAW) 6.77
Heat 17: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.74, Messias Felix (BRA) 14.64, Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.27, Enrique Aritu (PYF) 7.87
Heat 18: Granger Larson (Haw) 15.70, Jay Thompson (Aus) 15.56, Jerome Forrest (Aus) 10.67,Mateia Hiquily (Pyf) 9.84
Heat 19: Dillon Perillo (USA) 16.60, Perth Standlick (AUS) 10.57, Taylor Clarke (USA) 10.07, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 4.97
Heat 20: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.87, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.50, Kiron Jabour (HAW), Cory Arrambide (USA) 6.03
Heat 21: Mitch Crews (AUS) 15.10, Brett Simpson (USA), Dylan Goodale (HAW) 13.93, Chris Friend (AUS) 12.74
Heat 22: Heath Joske (AUS) 15.77, Pat GudAuskas (USA) 10.97, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.4, Michael February (Zaf) 9.5
Heat 23: Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 15.27, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 14.33, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.17, Manuel Selman (Chl) 9.57
Heat 24: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 17.70, Nic Squires (AUS) 12.83, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.63, Mitchell James (Aus) 6.04
- Sports & Recreation