2012 Volcom Fiji Pro: Day 2 Highlights
Here's my spin on today's events...
Day two of the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro kicked off with Fijian trials winner Esei Tokovou surfing against 11-Time World Champ Kelly Slater. The two have been friends for over fifteen years but Slater was in assassin mode after an uncharacteristic round one loss to Mitch Coleborn and dispatched of the local boy with ruthless efficiency--you don't win 11 world titles being a bro during heats.
In an all-Carlsbad, CA, affair, Josh Kerr took out World Tour veteran Taylor despite a sprained ankle and surfing on borrowed equipment. "It's actually not that bad surfing on my backhand," said Kerrzy as he limped to the Tavarua pool for some RnR with his wife Nikki. After breaking three boards yesterday, Kerr resorted to borrowing a blade from Kelly Slater in his heat against T. Knox. "I think my boards are a bit too thin," said the #3 ranked surfer in the world.
In only his fourth time ever surfing Cloudbreak, Julian Wilson took out San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas in an all-regular foot affair. "I can't believe I haven't been here before," said Julian after his heat. "The Aussie boys were giving me some crap for staying on Tavarua, but it's all good, the people on Tavarua--and Namotu I reckon too--are so amazing." Pat G had a rough go and left plenty of skin on the reef today, but there's no way "Captain Froth" is going to walk away bummed. I ran into him and his brother Dane tonight at the bar here on Tavarua and the boys were beaming as usual. "Yeah that was a rough one!" he laughed. "But I'm still psyched!" You gotta love the Gudangs...
While Kolohe Andino may not have got the best waves of the day, he had the best right hook of anyone. After a frustrating loss to Portugal's Tiago Pires, Kolohe unleashed a barrage of blows on his 6' 3" Mayhem, breaking the thing in half as time ticked away. I caught up to him afterward and asked about it. "Was that on the web cast?" he asked. "Umm, yeah." I replied. While it was a bit juvenile, you gotta cut the kid some slack--he's only eighteen years old and has a world of expectations on his shoulders. I kinda liked the display of passion, and the rest of the peanut gallery gathered around the Tavarua bar seemed to as well. "That's not easy to do," quipped his pal John John Florence. "You gotta get through the stringer and everything," he added.
The rest of the day saw Brazilian phenom Gabriel Medina net yet another perfect ten-point ride as he beat Yadin Nicol, a fired up Freddy P win over fellow Polynesian Michel Bourez, and Ace Buchan advance over Kieren Perrow. Tomorrow figures to be a well-deserved lay day as the Volcom Fiji Pro awaits a macking swell scheduled to arrive later in the week. Stay tuned for some awesome lay day activities--there are fish begging to be speared, a mini-ramp ready to be ripped, and Fiji Bitters on ice.--Justin Coté
ASP Press Release: Top Seeds Dominate Round 2 of the Volcom Fiji Pro at Cloudbreak
CLOUDBREAK, Tavarua/Fiji (Monday, June 4, 2012) - Cloudbreak turned on once again for the world's best surfers as the opening 10 heats of the elimination Round 2 of the Volcom Fiji Pro were completed in clean four-to-six foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at the primary event venue.
Event No. 4 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Volcom Fiji Pro took advantage of the conditions on offer at Cloudbreak with the top seeds controlling the day's tempo, taking nine wins from 10 heats.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, ASP Dream Tour sophomore and current ASP World No. 11, quickly found a rhythm in the Cloudbreak lineup this morning, earning a 9.47 and 9.10 for two lengthy backhand barrels to eliminate Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 26, in a one-sided affair while earning the highest heat total of Volcom Fiji Pro competition, 18.57 out of 20.
"Conditions are really good today," Wilson said. "It's pretty perfect. I had a crappy time yesterday and was really frustrated. It felt good to have that good start. My first wave was good and then I backed it up with another one. It felt great to have a couple of scores and to get that heat under the belt."
Although 2012 marks Wilson's inaugural trip to the Fijian islands, the young Australian exhibited little inexperience in the open ocean lineup today.
"It was only my fourth surf out there and I'm getting to know it better," Wilson said. "I can't believe I haven't been here before. I'm getting a hard time from the boys because I'm such a rookie here. The people are amazing on both of the islands. The weather is great, the waves are great and I'm having a good time."
Wilson will face Miguel Pupo (BRA), 20, when Volcom Fiji Pro competition resumes.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, secured the event's first Perfect 10 this afternoon for an incredibly long forehand barrel punctuated by some solid turns. Medina built upon this opening ride's momentum to secure the Round 2 win over fellow rookie Yadin Nicol (AUS), 26, and advance directly to Round 3.
"That was sick," Medina said. "I'm stoked to get that 10 and make the heat. I'm having a lot of fun. I didn't know I was going to make it on that one and I just went for it. This is my second time to Fiji and I heard there is a swell coming. I think it would be fun if they ran at Restaurants too."
Medina will face fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, in Round 3 of competition.
Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, suffered a suspected grade-2 ankle tear in his opening Volcom Fiji Pro heat yesterday, but withstood the pain this morning to claim a Round 2 victory over veteran campaigner Taylor Knox (USA), 41, to advance to Round 3.
"I was worried because the doctor told me my ankle recovery was 8 to 12 weeks out," Kerr said. "It feels super tender and I'm having non-stop work done. It's really taped up and I don't have much mobility with it at the moment. I got bounced up in the barrel and that didn't feel very good, but I'm happy to get through that one."
Tiago Pires (PRT), 32, veteran ASP World Championship Tour campaigner, survived a hard-fought heat over rookie sensation Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, this afternoon. Following a restart due to inconsistent swell, the two surfers attempted to battle the rapidly-changing conditions with Pires ousting the young Californian and advancing through to Round 3.
"I thought it was going to be a fun heat between Kolohe (Andino) and I but we had the restart and no sets came and then that wind came and changed the look of the wave," Pires said. "I feel bad for Kolohe. No one likes to lose in these types of conditions. I'm happy to make the heat though. I had a tough loss to Owen (Wright) yesterday and I'm happy to keep going in this amazing event."
Pires has drawn two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, in Round 3 of competition.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion, rebounded from an uncharacteristic Round 1 loss yesterday to post a convincing Round 2 win over local wildcard Isei Tokovu (FIJ). While the scores didn't necessarily reflect it, Slater admitted that Tokovu had the talent and opportunity to mix it up with the world's best at Cloudbreak.
"It feels mellow out there and all of a sudden a 6-foot bomb comes through," Slater said. "Isei (Tokovu) would have got a 10 on that bomb, but it was just a little too fast. There's still a lot of energy out there, but it's still a little slow. You can't underestimate a local guy in these contests, they surf here all the time and know which ones are the best waves."
Slater, who was forced to withdraw from the previous ASP WCT event in Rio de Janeiro due to a laceration to his foot, has been battling a Fijian stomach flu and is hoping to be in top shape for the latter rounds of competition.
"I'm feeling not quite 100 percent, I didn't feel great yesterday and my legs were still a little shaky," Slater said. "It's no excuse for the Round 1 heat because Mitch (Coleborn) was totally in tune and just schooled us out there. It's just about catching the best waves. I think we'll have a few lay days and then there's going to be a giant swell. My foot is better and when the swell kicks, in I have some big boards in the 7'6" to 8'6" range ready for it." Slater will take on lethal goofy-footer Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 30, in Round 3 of the Volcom Fiji Pro.
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 Bede Durbidge (AUS), 29, up against Adam Melling (AUS), 27, in Heat 11 of Round 2.
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.90 def. Isei Tokovu (FIJ) 6.10
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.66 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.07
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.00 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 8.56
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.57 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 7.50
Heat 5: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.67 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.54
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.67 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.37
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.96 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.76
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.04 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.23
Heat 9: Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.00 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.93
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.40 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.20
VOLCOM FIJI PRO REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. TBD
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 5: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Mitch Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. TBD