The 21-year-old made best-use of increasingly tricky conditions at the Watersplash to win the Men’s Open division, having already assured himself of a place in the CI team for next month’s national trip to Thurso, Scotland.
Rio beat Josh Evans and defending champion Nathan Elms into second and third respectively in the final with a combined 9.77, after finishing as the only rider with a one-wave score exceeding 4.00.
Rio is now plotting an ambitious course to the top three in Britain – a ranking which will secure qualification for the 2020 World Surfing Games in El Salvador. Last year, when the British Championships were in home swell, he failed to make it past the quarter-finals.
‘My top goal was to get to Scotland and give the British Champs another go, so I’m glad I got on the team,’ he explained. ‘That’s one thing ticked off … I’m aiming to do quite a few national contests this year.
‘The tide got pretty high [in the final] and it got pretty bumpy, but it was being scored on how good your turns were and not how many you did, which is definitely a lot better.
‘It’s always nice winning stuff at home because you’re against your mates. It gives you bragging rights as well.’
Full report in Final Whistle.