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Hawaii's John John Florence wins first ASP tour surfing contest

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:05 a.m. HST, May 16, 2012

Hawaii surfer John John Florence, 19, won his first Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour event, taking the Billabong Rio Pro today over Austrailian Joel Parkinson in barreling three-to-four foot waves at Barra da Tijuca. Brazil.

Florence, in his first year on the ASP tour, beat Australians Julian Wilson and Josh Kerr in earlier heats before defeating Parkinson in the final. Parkinson is currently the top surfer for the ASP World Title.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” Florence said in a news release. “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.”

Florence, ranked sixth on the ASP World Title Tour, will compete next at 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.”

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