Fitzgibbons Wins Billabong Rio Pro, Closes ASP World Title Gap
BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil (Sunday, May 13, 2012) - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, has taken out the Billabong Women's Rio Pro over Coco Ho (HAW), 21, by a score of 14.10 to 14.03 in peaky one-to-three foot (.5 metre) waves at the primary venue of Barra da Tijuca.
Event No. 5 of 7 on the 2012 ASP Women's World Championship Tour, the Billabong Pro Rio culminated in a thrilling fashion this afternoon with both Fitzgibbons and Ho exchanging the Final's lead multiple times before the hooter sounded.
In need of a high 7-point ride with just minutes remaining in the heat, Fitzgibbons bashed a blowing lefthander on her backside, notching a 7.93 out of 10 to take the elite win, her second of the year.
Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo: ASP/Dunbar
Fitzgibbons, current No. 2 on the ASP Women's WCT, has significantly narrowed the gap between her and current ASP frontrunner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, but remained humble in regards to her chase for the 2012 ASP World Title.
Ho, who was ranked 12th on the ASP Women's WCT ratings before the Billabong Rio Pro, had yet to advance beyond the Quarterfinals this year, but her Runner-Up finish to Fitzgibbons vaults the young Hawaiian to 9th in the world and restores her confidence to appropriate levels.
Billabong Rio Pro's runner-up Coco Ho. Photo: ASP/Kirstin
Carissa Moore (HAW), 19, last year's Billabong Rio Pro winner and reigning ASP Women's World Champion, was edged out of a hard-fought battle against Fitzgibbons in their high-scoring Semifinal affair. Both competitors posted big-scores in the dying seconds of the heat, but it was Fitzgibbons who earned the best of the exchange, handing Moore and equal 3rd place result.
Carissa Moore finished 3rd. Photo: ASP/Kirstin
Moore, who was dominant over the course of 2011, has yet to find a win this year, but remains focused on attaining a strong performance to end out the season.
Alessa Quizon (HAW), 18, Billabong Rio Pro wildcard, put in an incredible performance at this year's event, tearing through the world's best female surfers and finding her way into the Semifinals. Quizon put up a good fight against fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho, but ultimately fell during last minute exchange, finishing with a respectable equal 3rd place finish overall.
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