John John Florence has won the 2012 Billabong Rio Pro, beating Joel Parkinson in the final Wednesday. Florence is now ranked sixth in the world.
Florence’s victory furthers a string of good results for the 19-year-old Hawaiian, and is proof he can succeed in any and all conditions. In December, he was crowned the 2011 Vans Triple Crown champion and won the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach. Then in January, he won the Volcom Pipe Pro, followed by a first-place finish at the Drug Aware Pro in Western Australia in March, and most recently, he posted an equal third-place finish at the Nike Lowers Pro. It would be hard to argue that anybody — even Kelly Slater, who now finds himself sitting an uncharacteristic eighth in the ratings — has been more dominant over the past six months.
“This is the best feeling in the world,” Florence said. “I had that bad heat at Arpoador to start and we had a couple of lay days and I had to just sit and think about it. I can’t even believe this right now. I’m in shock. I was just sticking to my game plan and not thinking about the other guys. I’m so happy right now.”
“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.”
courtesy J. Cote, ASP