2012 Volcom Fiji Pro: Day 1 Highlights

Mitch Coleborn
Esei Tokovou
Joel Parkinson
Tiago Pires
Owen Wright
Tiago Pires
Julian Wilson
Mick Fanning
Mick Fanning
John John Florence
Kolohe Andino
Jeremy Flores
Alejo Muniz
Volcom Fiji Pro
Adam Melling
Jordy Smith
Jordy Smith
CJ Hobgood
CJ Hobgood
Volcom Fiji Pro
Taj Burrow
Damien Hobgood
Volcom Fiji Pro
Mitch Coleborn
Kai Otton
Volcom Fiji Pro
Mitch Coleborn
Owen Wright
Kieren Perrow
Kieren Perrow

2012 Volcom Fiji Pro: Day 1 Highlights

The 2012 Volcom Pro Fiji kicked off today in dredging 6-8 foot Cloudbreak barrels that had competitors getting tubed off the tits as well as getting pounded into the coral reef by rogue clean up sets.

Cloudbreak was in its "kick ass and take names" mode today and World Tour surfers were bloodied and bruised as they battled it out in round one. Josh Kerr got the worst of it and sustained a high ankle sprain as he negotiated a thick one, "I had it made then the foam ball just blasted me from behind and twisted my ankle all weird," said the world ranked 33 surfer. A medic on the media/surfer boat told him that he'd be out of commission for 10-12 weeks but Kerrzy was upbeat and was upright and walking.

Kerrzy wasn't the only one who got smashed, even 11-Time World Champion Kelly Slater got beat up out there. "I came out of a little barrel and the lip just landed right on my head," he recalled afterward. The Champ copped the nose of his board on his wrist and was icing it as he watched some heats from the channel.

Speaking of Slater, he was the victim of rampaging event wildcard Mitch Coleborn who dropped a nine with seconds left to beat Kelly and Kai Otton. You must consider Mitch a legitimate threat here at Cloudbreak, he's powerfully built and has nothing to lose...except maybe a bit of skin on the reef.

On a side note, the setup here at the Volcom Fiji Pro is crazy; the contest is being held over a mile away on an open ocean reef, the judges sit on a scaffolding that until recently served as a bathroom for birds, and the surfers are all staying together at one of two little resorts. We have the pleasure of being on Tavarua while others are across a body of water at Namotu Resort. Both places are simply spectacular and everyone is really grateful and stoked to be back in Fiji after a four-year hiatus.

Stay tuned, the swell forecast is looking as good as it gets and figured to be on again tomorrow.

Jordy Smith

Jordy Smith on one of the very first waves of the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

ASP Press Release: or Day 1 Volcom Fiji Pro

CLOUDBREAK, Tavarua/Fiji (Sunday, June 3, 2012) - The long-awaited return of the world's best surfers to the iconic lefthander of Cloudbreak was realized today as the ASP Top 34 took on the open ocean reef pass for Round 1 of the Volcom Fiji Pro.

Event No. 4 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Volcom Fiji Pro enjoyed solid six-to-eight foot (2 - 2.5 metre) waves at the primary venue of Cloudbreak today, and there was no shortage of action as the world's best tore into the conditions on offer.

Mitch Coleborn (AUS), 25, wildcard into the Volcom Fiji Pro, caused the upset of the day, besting reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, as well as dangerous goofy-footer Kai Otton (AUS), 32, in their non-elimination Round 1 bout. After a rough start, including suffering a number of waves on the head, Coleborn rebounded in sensational fashion, grabbing 9.27 followed by an 8.10 for the day's highest heat total of a 17.37 out of a possible 20.

"The heat ended up good but the start was a nightmare," Coleborn said. "Then I got that one 9-something and it really turned the heat around for me. Once I pulled in, I knew it was going to happen and I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face after I came out. I still needed a score though and bagged another solid one at the end. I guess I got a couple of waves between all of the beatings I took." Coleborn, current No. 62 on the ASP World Rankings, is battling to join the elite ASP Top 34 in the near future, and the young goofy-footer was thrilled to capitalize today on the world-class waves of Fiji as a wildcard.

"Out there on the ledge there are chip shots and you've got to be right there under them," Coleborn said. "That last one was a dream come true. It's a different thing coming here compared to other contests. You knew a swell was coming and it's Fiji and you just can't think a bad thought. I'm happy to be here."

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current ASP World No. 1, put in a dominant opening round performance, consistently navigating through technical barrels with unmatched authority, advancing directly to Round 3 over Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, and wildcard Isei Tokovu (FIJ).

"The second half of the heat was really good," Parkinson said. "The start was washing through and I thought it was going to be a scrappy one, but it really turned on. I'm really enjoying everything I'm doing. I've been here before. I've had some disappointments so I'm not really getting myself ready for anything. One by one. This is the best contest out of them all. You post up on an island and fish and surf, it's amazing. I'm really enjoying myself out here."

Jordy Smith (ZAF), 24, kicked off the event's opening heat with a late drop into a deep backhand barrel, earning an excellent 9-point score for the ride en route to his Round 1 victory over Hawaiian Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 30, and Californian Brett Simpson (USA), 27.

"It was pretty hard out there at first and I'm stoked that I caught two quick ones," Smith said. "On that one 9, it just opened up real perfect. I lucked into it on the way back out when the boys got stuck inside and it just held open and I came out and got a couple of turns in. I'm pumped, it's my first time back to Cloudbreak since my rookie year and I couldn't have had a better start. It felt fun out there and the waves are just pumping."

John John Florence (HAW), 19, who took out his inaugural ASP WCT victory in Brazil last month, recovered from a recent bout of flu in Fiji to take a come-from-behind victory over fellow rookie Miguel Pupo (BRA), 20, and veteran Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35. "My confidence is there, but I've been sick the last few days," Florence said. "I had a session the other day, so the confidence is there and it's kind of not. I went over the falls on that one and it was a good warm up to get kind of shaken up a bit."

Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, capped off the day's action with an impressive performance of backhand surfing to best Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, and Adam Melling (AUS), 27, to advance directly to Round 3. "The waves are so beautiful today and I'm so stoked to get through that heat," Muniz said. "I didn't have a very good start this season, but I got a pretty good result at home in Brazil and hopefully I can keep getting through heats. I don't want to stop surfing out here so I want to win as many heats as I can."

Muniz's performance punctuated an impressive Round 1 showing from the Brazilians, with compatriots Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, and Heitor Alves (BRA), 30, claiming their respective heats.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8:30am start.

When competition resumes, up first will be Kelly Slater (USA), 40, up against local wildcard Isei Tokovu (FIJ) in the opening heat of the elimination Round 2. Highlights from the Volcom Fiji Pro will be available via www.volcom.com/fijipro. For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.67, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 7.67, Brett Simpson (USA) 3.67
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.33, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.86, Josh Kerr (AUS) 6.10
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.00, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.16, Taj Burrow (AUS) 4.17
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.60, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.10, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 2.93
Heat 5: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 17.37, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.50, Kai Otton (AUS) 13.27
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.93, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.33, Isei Tokovu (FIJ) 2.23
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.87, Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.50, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10.26
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.66, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 4.90, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 2.00
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW) 15.37, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.73, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 6.33
Heat 10: Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.70, Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.70, Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.67
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.80, Travis Logie (ZAF) 7.50, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6.00
Heat 12: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.27, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.97, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.70

Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Isei Tokovu (FIJ)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 9: Tiago Pires (PRT) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)