RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Monday, August 9, 2010) – After hosting the world’s best surfers for the past eight years, 2011 will see the ASP World Tour transition from Santa Catarina to Rio de Janeiro for what is rapidly developing into one of the biggest surfing events in history.
In addition to the relocation to the exciting and enthusiastic sporting city of Rio de Janeiro, the Billabong Rio Pro is making surfing history with the unprecedented prize purse of US$500,000 for the men as well as adding a women’s event with a record-breaking US$120,000 prize purse.
“Brazilian fans are so passionate and vocal,” Mick Fanning, reigning two-time ASP World Champion, said. “Sport is a huge part of their culture and that reflects in the crowds we get to the beach. I’m excited about bringing the World Tour back to Rio.”
Santa Catarina has enjoyed a storied run as an ASP World Tour event starting in 2003, culminating in this year’s historic victory by rookie Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, over former nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 38.
“Santa Catarina is a very special place for me,” Andre said. “I had my first win there this year, and I wish we could go back. The move will be good though and I am looking forward to it.”
Pre-empting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, ASP International and Billabong are bringing the world’s best surfers to Rio de Janeiro in 2011, capitalizing on the fervent sporting community and increased national focus on professional surfing.
“I think that when Jadson (Andre) won this year, it ignited Brazil,” Adriano De Souza (BRA), 23, said. “He proved that a Brazilian can win at this level and at home and has excited everyone. The prize money increase is amazing, but more importantly, it’s about building on this year’s momentum and getting people excited about Brazil. Rio has so many people and the ability to generate lots of interest in surfing.”
Barra da Tijuca will serve as the main site for the Billabong Pro Rio 2011, utilizing its consistent and rippable beachbreaks as a base for the world’s best surfers to push the boundaries of high-performance. The historic lefthand pointbreak of Praia da Arpoador will serve as the secondary site, and the protected beachbreaks of Canto do Recreio will be called upon should the winds not cooperate with the two former.
For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.