• 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.

3John 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.

KerrAustralia'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 relinquished his former frontrunner status on the ratings and Slater now sits at ASP World No. 8.

To watch highlights from the Billabong Rio Pro log on to http://wctbrasil.com/

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

The next stop on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour will be the Volcom Fiji Pro, which holds a waiting period from June 3 through 15, 2012.


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> Highlights


1 John John Florence (HAW) 16.37
2 Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.44


SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.83 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.00
SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.94 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.86


QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.90 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.60
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.57 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 5.90
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) 14.94 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.43
QF 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 15.84 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.27

Current ASP WCT Top 10 (After Billabong Rio Pro):

1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 19700 pts
2. Mick Fanning (AUS) 18250 pts
3. Josh Kerr (AUS) 18200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17200 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15750 pts
6. John John Florence (HAW) 15750 pts
7. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15700 pts
8. Kelly Slater (USA) 13700 pts
9. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12250 pts
10. Owen Wright (AUS) 12150 pts