Broken surfboard day at the Billabong Rio Pro

May 14, 2012 | Surfing
John John Florence: barrel boy shows off

Broken surfboards, heavy wipe-outs and crazy barrels. The Billabong Rio Pro is back at the primary venue of Barra da Tijuca, in challenging four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) waves.

Tiago Pires and Michel Bourez are the only ones already qualified for Round 4. Adam Melling led the day’s proceedings with superior barrel-riding skills.

The powerful natural-footer charged into two deep tubes, earning the day’s highest single wave score of 9.67 out of 10 en route to the day’s highest heat total of 17.00 out of 20.

John John Florence led the rookie class with unmatched versatility this morning, driving through barrels and punting critical airs in the pounding conditions to take a dominant Round 2 victory over replacement surfer Willian Cardoso, with a strong 16.20 out of 20 heat total.

Peterson Crisanto began the day by delivering a big upset, eliminating event favorite and fellow countryman Gabriel Medina, in the opening heat of Round 2. Crisanto focused on the barreling right-handers while Medina struggled with the strong current and thumping waves.

"I knew that heat wasn’t going to be easy with Gabriel (Medina) so I just tried to stay on the rights and try and find the barrels," Crisanto said. "I almost made the first barrel, but I made the second one, so I’m happy to get through to the next round. I just tried to stay relaxed and find the right waves."

Tiago Pires prevailed over the day’s stormy beach break conditions to take out two heat victories, topping Australians Kai Otton, in Round 2 and Owen Wright, in Round 3.

"Adam Melling must have been surfing another break out there," Pires said. "You get out there with the psych and I could not find the waves. There were lots of close outs and it was just really tough. I’m stoked to make it through though, it’s my first time advancing to Round 4 this year."

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