John John Florence 19, has won his maiden ASP World Championship Tour event, taking out the Billabong Rio Pro over Joel Parkinson in barreling 3 – 4 foot waves at Barra da Tijuca.
Florence, currently in his rookie year on the ASP WCT, proved unstoppable on the final day of the competition, topping Australians Julian Wilson and Josh Kerr 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.
“This helps my confidence so much,” Florence said. “I have a lot of confidence going into events with barreling waves like Pipe. Obviously I have a lot of confidence in barrels from my experience at Pipe, but coming here, I wasn’t expecting a big result. I was just hoping to make a few heats.”
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.
“It’s a good feeling I suppose,” Parkinson said. “It’s a long way to go and I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, but I’m stoked. I have been in this position before though so I’m hoping to maintain my performance level throughout the rest of the year.”
Kelly Slater the 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.
BILLABONG RIO PRO FINAL:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 16.37
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.44
BILLABONG RIO PRO SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
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
BILLABONG RIO PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
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