Rio de Janeiro: there are people watching you from their homes

Everybody's ready and surf's up. The best female surfers in the world are gearing up for the 2011 Billabong Pro Rio, at the Barra da Tijuca surf peak, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It's the fifth stop of the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title season.

The exciting return to Rio promises superb surfing performances. Carissa Moore is fired up after making four Finals from four events and claiming two victories. The young Hawaiian holds a solid position as frontrunner at the moment.

"I’ve have had an amazing year so far," Moore said. "To make four Finals from four events is a really good start for me and I’m having a lot of fun. Everyone is surfing really well and I’m feeling really pushed right now by all the girls like Coco (Ho), Tyler (Wright), Steph (Gilmore) and of course Sally (Fitzgibbons)."

Sally Fitzgibbons, current ASP Women’s World No. 2, has had a breakout year of her own, making two Finals and collecting a well overdue inaugural victory at Bells Beach.

"I’ve had a pretty good run this season for sure," Fitzgibbons said. "I’m still buzzing off that Bells win and I probably will be for a while. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me – definitely the craziest of my life. It’s a good race going on right now and I’m focused on another solid result in Brazil."

Stephanie Gilmore, reigning four-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current ASP Women’s World No. 4, has shown flashes of brilliance this season, but has yet to make a Final since 2010. For the first time in her career, the iconic natural-footer faces the possibility of losing the ASP crown.

"It’s definitely now or never in terms of making a run at it this year," Gilmore said. "I’m sitting at fourth right now and haven’t cracked the Finals yet. There’re three more events and if I’m going to make a move, it will have to start at this event. There are no easy heats on tour anymore, regardless of the round. It’s an exciting time for women’s surfing. I’m looking forward to coming back to Rio and having some fun."

The Brazilian surfer girl Silvana Lima, current ASP Women’s World No. 5, will lead the South American contingent at the Billabong Pro Rio, utilizing the passionate hometown crowd to her advantage.

"I’m very excited to be coming back to Brazil with the women’s tour," Lima said. "Rio is a very special place and the fans are very passionate about surfing. It’s going to be exciting."

In addition to the best female surfers in the world, the ASP Top 34 will converge upon Brazil for the third stop of the 2011 ASP World Title season, including current frontrunner and reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater, defending event winner Jadson Andre and winner of the last event in Bells Beach Joel Parkinson.