The Volcom Fiji Pro relocated to the flawless lefthander of Restaurants yesterday for an incredible 17 heats of competition, running the remainder of round 1, round 2 and the first three heats of round 3 in perfect six-to-eight foot (2 metre) barrels.
Stop No 4 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), today’s Volcom Fiji Pro hosted a bevy of amazing performances from the ASP Top 34, led by a near-perfect heat from young Hawaiian John John Florence (HAW), 20.
Florence was incredible in the freight-training barrels at Restaurants, posting a perfect 10-point ride and 9.80 for astonishing backhand surfing. The Hawaiian’s round 2 victory punctuated his return to competition following his absence from the ASP WCT since a severe ankle injury sustained on the Gold Coast. ‘That’s the best the waves have been since I’ve been here’, said Florence. ‘The waves just turned on for my heat. Restaurants is just a perfect wave. It’s such a machine and with these winds every wave’s just perfect. You can really just sit in the barrel the whole way.’
Florence would go on to edge out two-time Fiji winner Damien Hobgood (USA), 33, in a close round 3 battle in the afternoon and advance to round 4.
Joel Parkinson, 32, reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No 8, rebounded after missing his round 1 heat, delivering committed barrel-rides and massive backhand turns over the shallow Restaurants reef. Parkinson was rewarded a 9.33 and 9.10 for his efforts in his round 2 victory over dangerous Hawaiian Dusty Payne (HAW), 24. ‘Restaurants is a perfect wave’, said Parkinson. ‘It has a really good line to it and when you come over a set and see the next good one coming, you get butterflies. I was looking for the barrels out there in that heat, but the bigger ones were chattery and bumpy. You’ve really got to find the medium-sized waves out there. If you get the medium one you can get nice long drainers.’
Taj Burrow, 35, contributed to the day’s high-scoring affair while taking out two heat wins. The veteran earned a scrappy round 2 nod over Adam Melling (AUS), 28, eventually scoring two excellent rides in flawless afternoon conditions against Fred Patacchia (HAW), 31, to the tune of 18.10 out of 20 while advancing to round 4.
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25, earned an amazing come-from-behind victory in round 2 over Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30. In need of an 8.90 with just five seconds remaining on the clock, Zietz drove through a seemingly impossible tube, earning an 8.93 out of 10 for the ride to edge out the Australian goofy-footer.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, winner of the last event in Rio de Janeiro, returned to form after a round 1 stumble, topping ASP WCT Rookie Glenn Hall (IRL), 31, in windy afternoon conditions to advance to round 3.
Smith would go on to defeat Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, in round 3 in the last heat of the day, simultaneously surpassing Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, for the coveted No. 1 position on the ASP WCT rankings.
Kieren Perrow shows off his injuries sustained when he hit the reef during round 1. Photo ASP/ Kirstin Scholtz
Kieren Perrow is interviewed after his round 1 win over fellow Aussies Julian Wilson and Bede Durbidge. Photo ASP/ Kirstin Scholtz
Kelly Slater (USA), 41, 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 4, also found his form after a round 1 absence, taking out his round 2 heat against local wildcard Aca Lalabalavu (FJI) despite a valiant effort from the Fijian. ‘That was tough because we had that lull in my heat’, said Slater. ‘Me and Aca (Lalabalavu) never got to a good start and missed the best waves of the heat. I didn’t get to see any of Aca’s waves in my heat, but I figured I’ve surfed with him enough to know that he can put together a bunch of turns and barrels on a wave. To be honest, I had some nerves in that heat and I made some funny decisions. I know the waves, but you forget things when you haven’t been free surfing here a lot. It can get a little tricky, but it comes back pretty quick.’
Yadin Nicol (AUS), 27, current alternate on the ASP WCT, delivered the upset of the day, eliminating then ASP World No. 1 Adriano de Souza (BRA), 26, via a series of hard-fought backhand barrel exchanges to advance to round 3. ‘That was a strange heat because it was pumping all morning and you think it’s going to keep coming’, said Nicol. ‘It turned out to be pretty slow and pretty bumpy and you had to wrestle with the barrels you got in. I was lucky to come out of that one 8. Adriano (de Souza) got that little nugget at the end, but I’m stoked to come away with that one in the end.’
Nicol, who disrupts de Souza’s ASP World Title campaign via the round 2 win, is also eligible to gain crucial points towards requalifying for the ASP WCT for 2014 after missing out on his ASP Top 34 reberth by just one heat at Pipeline last year. ‘I’m super happy that I made that heat’, he Nicol. ‘Anytime you beat the top guys it feels good. It’s a shame for Adriano (de Souza). I know it’s a big loss for him. No one wants to get a 25th, but I’m just excited. The waves look insane for the remainder of the event and I hope to keep surfing these perfect waves and have a good time.’
Event organisers gave the green light to day 6 of 13 at 7.30 this morning (5.30AEST), they hope to finish round 3 and move into the next round.
The Volcom Fiji Pro will be webcast LIVE via www.volcomfijipro.com
VOLCOM FIJI PRO REMAINING ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.80, Nat Young (USA) 12.93, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.10
Heat 12: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.20, John John Florence (HAW) 12.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.00
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27 def. Aca Lalabalavu (FJI) 10.90
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.67 def. Alex Grey (USA) 6.27
Heat 3: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.77 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.60
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.47 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.53
Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) 7.87 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 7.76
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.50 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 8.43
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.50 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.67
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.93 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.04
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.57 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.33
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17.10 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.06
Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW) 19.80 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.83
Heat 12: Nat Young (USA) 18.23 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.60
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.10 def. Fred Patacchia (HAW) 12.33
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 16.10 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.06
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.30 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 14.70
UPCOMING VOLCOM FIJI PRO REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 5: Kai Otton (HAW) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Mitchel Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
From the ASP – http://www.aspworldtour.com