BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Saturday, May 12, 2012) - Semifinalists have been decided for the Billabong Women's Rio Pro, Stop No. 5 of 7 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, as the world's best female surfers made the most of the tricky one-to-two foot (0.5 metre) waves on offer at the primary site of Barra da Tijuca.

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, current No. 2 on the ASP Women's WCT Rankings, got the best of a wave-starved heat this morning, tearing into select waves with precision and nailing one of the day's highest heat totals of 16.00 out of 20 in Round 3.


Sally Fitzgibbons in form. Photo: ASP/Dunbar

Fitzgibbons would go on to defeat Pauline Ado (FRA), 21, in this afternoon's Quarterfinals to earn her Semifinals berth.


Beach scene at Barra da Tijuca. Photo: Alvinho Duarte / Getty Images

Coco Ho (HAW), 21, put in a standout performance today, besting four-time ASP Women's World Champion and current rankings' leader Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, on two separate occasions. Ho won her three-woman Round 3 heat and went on to take a dominant victory over Gilmore in the Quarterfinals by a score of 14.93 to 7.23, out of 20.

Coco Ho

Ho, current No. 12 on the ASP Women's WCT Ratings, needed a big result to remain on the ASP Top 17 roster for 2013 and is hoping her guaranteed equal 3rd finish at the Billabong Rio Pro will mark the beginning to a strong end to 2012.

"I've had a pretty bad beginning to the year and anything from here on out is a bonus," Ho said. "I'm looking forward to finishing up the year strong."

Stephanie G

Stephanie Gilmore makes her way through the beach. Photo: ASP/Dunbar

Gilmore continually posted solid scores throughout the event despite the challenging conditions. The progressive natural-footer's Equal 5th place at the Billabong Rio Pro is another strong result, but admittedly pushes her clinching of the 2012 ASP Women's World Title further away.

Alessa Quizon (HAW), 18, Billabong Rio Pro wildcard, continued to shine amongst the ASP Top 17, eliminating 2012 ASP Women's WCT rookie Lakey Peterson (USA), 17, before Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, to advance to the Semifinals.


Trials winner and semifinalist Alessa Quizon. Photo: ASP/Dunbar

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 10am at the primary site of Barra da Tijuca to assess conditions for a possible 10:30am start. A Billabong Women's Rio Pro winner will be crowned tomorrow.

The Billabong Rio Pro is proudly supported by Monster Energy Drink and Xperia Sony Smartphone.


Courtney Conlogue. Photo: ASP/Dunbar


QF 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.77 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.50

QF 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.93 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.23
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.50 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.17
QF 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 8.32 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 8.33