John John Florence Wins the 2012 Billabong Pro Rio

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John John Florence wins 2012 Billabong Pro Rio. Photo: ASP/SCHOLTZ

The last six months have been pretty good for 19-year-old surfer John John Florence. The Hawaiian took the 2011 Van Triple Crown Championship in December, won the Volcom Pipe Pro in January, went home with first from the Drug Aware Pro in Australia in March, and today won the Billabong Pro Rio for his first ASP Tour victory.

“Won my first title in Brazil,” Kelly Slater tweeted. “JJ wins his 1st event on tour there 20yrs later. Pretty cool for me. Known him since he was about 6yo. #stoked .”

At that age, Florence was already a bit of a veteran.

When John John was six months old, his mom Alexandra put him in a life jacket and placed him on the nose of her board. At five years old, he started surfing Banzai Pipeline. At 13, he became the youngest surfer in the Vans Triple Crown. Not long after, Robert Maxwell photographed him for Outside—with his two younger brothers in tow. Several amateur championships and sponsorship deals later, he's vaulted up to sixth place in the ASP standings during his rookie year.

For a full Billabong Pro Rio wrap-up, check out this four-day report from ESPN's Jake Howard.

—Joe Spring

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