John John Florence Wins Billabong Rio Pro, Parkinson Takes Ratings' Lead
BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Wednesday, May 16, 2012) - John John Florence (HAW), 19, has won his maiden ASP ASP World Championship Tour event, taking out the Billabong Rio Pro over Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, in barreling three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Barra da Tijuca.
Florence, currently in his rookie year on the ASP WCT, proved unstoppable on the final day of Billabong Rio Pro competition, topping prodigious Australian Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, and Josh Kerr (AUS), 27, on his way to triumph over Parkinson.
Florence, who now sits at No. 6 on the ASP WCT, will look to carry the momentum from today's massive victory to the upcoming ASP WCT events in Fiji and Tahiti.
John John dominated the event from start to finish. Photo: ASP/Kirstin
Parkinson utilized his complete skill set at Barra Da Tijuca, driving through barrels, lofting airs and unloading powerful carves en route to his Finals berth, but was unable to find a rhythm against Florence and finished runner-up overall.
Parkinson's finish today propels the Australian into the frontrunner position for the ASP World Title, but Parkinson was humble in claiming his spot atop the rankings.
Parko finished second on the Billabong Rio Pro but took over the World's rankings. Photo: ASP/Kirstin
Josh Kerr (AUS), 27, put in an amazing performance at the Billabong Rio Pro with an astounding array of barrels and airs to take an equal 3rd place finish. Kerr surfed strong on the Final day of competition, but was unable to surpass Florence in their Semifinal bout.
Australia's Josh Kerr pulled a big comeback against Adriano. Photo: ASP/Kirstin
Kerr's equal 3rd place finish at the Billabong Rio Pro matches his career-best result as he continues to build momentum against the world's best surfers.
Kerr was responsible for a big upset in the Quarterfinals, eliminating 2011 Billabong Rio Pro champion and local favorite Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, when he took to the air in the back half of their bout.
Former event Champ Adriano de Souza lost to Josh Kerr on the Quarters. ASP/Kirtin
Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, two-time ASP World Champion, eliminated Brazilian Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, in the Quarterfinals but lost a hard-fought heat to close friend Joel Parkinson in the Semifinals to finish equal 3rd overall.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion, was absent from the Billabong Rio Pro, citing an ankle injury. The Floridian's absence