The Fiji Pro is currently being held at the wave of Cloudbreak and is being live webcast by surfing’s governing body, the WSL. The women are currently surfing, with the men’s event due to start on June 7. Here are seven reasons why you should put on the sunscreen, kick off your shoes and transport yourself to the resort island of Tavarua in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Or just log on.
For extra-extra-large waves
The contest wave of Cloudbreak offers some of the most perfect, and largest, waves on the planet. In 2012 such was the size of the waves that the WSL called the event off, citing extreme danger to competitors. Luckily, other big-wave surfers not in the competition were on hand to surf what was called one of the best big-wave sessions in history. If a swell of such proportions comes again, odds are the WSL will make sure that this time the world's top surfers are ready to go.
Dane Reynolds vs. Kelly Slater
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Dane Reynolds has been given a wildcard into the Fiji Pro, offering us a rare chance to see the world's most dynamic surfer live in action. For the last five years, Reynolds has turned his back on competition, and his fans have been forced to wait for him to drop his own edited clips to glimpse his groundbreaking surfing. (He did that this week and his short film called Sampler, above, blew minds.)
If the enigmatic Californian can produce this type of form in a competition situation, he will be a huge threat. Kelly Slater, on the other hand, has won the Fiji Pro four times and nominates Tavarua as one of his favorite places on Earth. It would be a promoter's dream, and a webcast delight, if these two heavyweights were to come face to face in the perfect waves of Cloudbreak.
The local hero
Aca Ravulo won the trials event with an incredible 10-point ride and will enter the Fiji Pro carrying the hopes of a nation, albeit a tiny one. Ravulo learned to surf at Cloudbreak and has surfed in the main event the last two years, though he's yet to register a heat win. If he were to go all the way, it would be classed as one of the great upsets in surfing and Fiji's most famous sporting victory.
The best view in the house
The live webcast puts you right bang smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with commentary coming from boats moored in the channel and live reporting from hosts in the waves. It’s akin to having Al Michaels calling the Super Bowl from the 50-yard line. Peter Mel, a famous big-wave surfer and excellent interviewer, often has the difficult task of asking questions of competitors while dodging monstrous waves with the disadvantage of paddling with a microphone.
The girls showing their mettle
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The Fiji Pro and the waves of Cloudbreak offer the best chance to see how women's surfing has progressed in waves of real consequence. In 2014, the first time the women had competed at Cloudbreak, they surfed the biggest waves of the whole event and showed incredible commitment that repeatedly came in the form of bruising wipeouts. Defending champion Sally Fitzgibbons is a known big-wave charger, but look to surfers like Tyler Wright and Tatiana Weston-Webb (seen above surfing Fiji last year), who also love the big stuff.
World-title race heats up
This is a pivotal event in the championship, being the fifth out of 11 events on the World Tour. In the men's category, Brazilian Adriano de Souza is out in front, but he has three-time world champion Mick Fanning and 20-year-old wunderkind Felipe Toledo aiming to close the gap. In the women's category it seems down to a race between two-time champ Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue. Hawaiian Moore won the first two events, while Conlogue has came out on top in the last two. Whomever comes out on top in Fiji will have set down a solid marker for the rest of the year.
Put yourself poolside
Cloudbreak isn't the only world-class wave that breaks off the small heart-shaped island of Tavarua. Restaurants is known as one of the most perfect waves imaginable and breaks directly in front of the resort's bar, pool and restaurant. When Cloudbreak is too big and windy, Restaurants will be smaller, clean and offering tubes 20 seconds long. By clicking on the webcast you can pretend you are in the middle of the Pacific, drinking a poolside cocktail and watching the world's best surfers.
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