Pictured: Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, could hit the water as early as tomorrow at the Billabong Rio Pro. ASP / SCHULTZ
The waiting period for the Billabong Rio Pro begins tomorrow, May 11 and with a promising swell expected to ignite the beach breaks of Brazil there is a good chance that the ASP Top 34 could kick things off straight away at the event’s primary site of Barra Da Tajuca.
Stop No. 3 of 11 on the men’s ASP World Title Season, the Billabong Rio Pro returns to Rio De Janiero after landing at several iconic Brazilian destinations over the years.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, current No. 2 on the men’s ASP World Title Race, enters the Billabong Rio Pro with a newfound confidence after taking an amazing win at Bells Beach and hopes to maintain his form at Barra Da Tajuca.
“I think my form has always been there, but I was missing confidence,” Parkinson said. “Being back in the winner’s circle has brought that back and I feel like I’m surfing good again. Making the right decisions in heats is the key and it feels good to be back into it.”
Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, earned the biggest victory of his career by defeating 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, to win the Billabong Pro in Santa Catarina last year and is hungry to post another impressive showing with the support of his nation behind him.
“My victory last year was the most memorable day of my life,” Andre said. “When I won last year it was only my third World Tour event and I won, but I’m going to surf heat-by-heat and try to progress. The aim is always to win and that’s what I’m trying for in the end.”
Kelly Slater current leader on the ASP World Title Race, won an elite ASP World Tour event in Rio de Janeiro back in 1997 and his return to the city sparks many fond memories.
“I have a lot of good memories from competing in Rio,” Slater said. “The last year that I was here was the year Peterson Rosa won, and if he didn’t win I wouldn’t have won the World Title that year. I was here once or twice in the 90’s and I’ve had good times. One year we had good waves and good barrels and I have a lot of good friends here and it’s been a long time since I’ve been back.”
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, who is heading into the Billabong Rio Pro after an equal 3rd place finish at Bells Beach, is out to use the support of his passionate fans to tackle the world’s best surfers and hopes one of his fellow countrymen will keep the Billabong Pro Rio title in Brazil.
“I’m coming off of a good result and having the support of the crowd is definitely going to help me get on a roll,” De Souza said. “Hopefully the waves come my way and one of the five Brazilians will be the winner of this event.”
Aside from the men’s competition, the Billabong Rio Pro will see the world’s best female surfers competing as well, with the Brazilian event representing stop No. 4 of 7 on the women’s ASP World Title Race.
The Billabong Rio Pro holds a waiting period from May 11 through 22 and is webcast LIVE via http://www.billabongpro.com