Now The Billabong Rio Pro may not have the scrotum tearing drops of Chopes, the world title fisticuffs of Pipe or the megatonne history of Bells, but it’s still a super crucial as one of only ten World Tour events. And since the competition moved back to Rio in 2011 it has had its fair share of controversy, highlights and drama. In the interest of getting your lubed up for the 2013 edition, which starts on May 8, here are five memorable moments from Rio. Strap on a thong, break out the hot wax, slap on the cooking oil, its time for Brazil.
1) Jon Jon Pops His Cherry
At last year’s event Jon Jon went from freaky Pipe kid to a genuine world title contender, blasting his way through beachbreak barrels and massive airs, winning every heat and his final against Parko with a superiority that bordered on ridiculous. Jon Jon is still yet to make a decision on whether he can defend his title due to an ankle injury, but either way Rio was where he popped his cherry, the first of god knows how many more to come.
2) Barra Bazzas
Apart from Jon Jon’s maiden victory, the other surprising element from Rio 2012 was that Brazil actually barreled. Sure there was as many closeouts in the water as there was buttcheeks on the beach, but for a few rounds each heat turned into a proper tubeshoot, with spitting pits, broken boards and some serious claims.
The 2011 Rio Pro was cursed with some bad weather and piss poor waves. And yet in the quaterfinal between hometown hero Adriano De Souza and Owen Wright, a single manouevre probably caused more internet excitement than any other turn or heat all year. All because DeSouza scored an 8 point ride to win on a wave that featured just one turn, a close-out floater. Cue troll hatred, conspiracy theories, anti Brazilian hysteria and calls for ASP to hang itself. The best round up of the controversy can be seen here.
4) Mineirinho Magic
De Souza put the floatergate behind him, racking up some more narrow wins before nailing Taj Burrow in the final. The victory, the first by a Brazilian in a World Tour event on home soil, sent the massive Brazilian crowd into a frenzy and De Souza into number 1 on the rankings.
5) Raoni’s Fibreglass Fisticuffs
The Brazilian’s are known for their fiery passion and so when Raoni Monteiro lost his round 2 heat to Travis Logie in 2012, he didn’t shy away from showing his frustration. First he punched his board out the back, and then obviously feeling that lacked passion, started ferociously headbutting the rail on shore. On the way to the beach, he then gave it a few more jabs just for passion’s sake. Excuse the crap American voiceover here in the clip and go straight to 1.10 to see the carnage. To be fair to Raoni, he cites that moment as his low point in his career, and has turned his surfing and injuries around, taking out Parko at Bells last event.