In three days time, at around the same time that the Top 34 will be sipping Kava in the traditional opening ceremony, the gong will sound to signal the start of the Volcom Fiji Pro.
To say that surf fans are looking forward to it is an understatement, after all, who could forget last year’s mammoth swell that kept most of the Top 34 sipping cocktails at the bar, whilst the world’s big wave elite jetted in and stole the show?
It was a good show, but it would have been even better had their been actual points on offer and a champion crowned. With that in mind, there will be no excuses for the Top 34 this time around as ASP tour manager Renato Hickel circulated the following message to all competitors:
“I’m sure most of you are getting ready and prepared, but I still want to send you guys this reminder to come prepared to surf large waves… So plan to bring the equipment you would want, surfboards and/or flotation vests if you want/need them.”
So there you have it, no matter how big it gets, we’re going to see the likes of world tour leaders Kelly, Adriano and Jordy dueling it out at perfect Cloudbreak. No excuses.
If the mother of all swells doesn’t appear, then there’s still plenty to keep you glued to the webcast or Fuel TV. Restaurants at four feet is right up there amongst the most perfect waves in the world – which isn’t a bad option for a back-up venue.
The reigning champ, Kelly Slater, will be the man to beat once again. Cloudbreak is one of his all-time favourite waves, and he’s proven over the years that not many can match him, regular or goofy, when he grabs a rail and pig-dogs a throaty left. Andy definitely could, and we’d be willing to put money on John John doing it, but the rest might just be following his lead.
We’d love to see Jordy maintain his current form, and if he can lock in a good result in Fiji, then the hop over to the next event in Bali might just be his moment to slay the rest and grab the ratings lead. Keramas looks like it was made just for Jordy. Actually, Keramas appears to be made for everyone.
But we digress. We’re talking about Fiji here, and thankfully John John Florence has recovered from his ankle injury which kept him out of Bells and Brazil, because he’s the one with the most potential to throw the spanner in the workings of the world tour leaders at Cloudbreak. A sixth sense, shared with Kelly, that allows him to sit deeper in the barrel than just about everyone else makes him a threat – and we all dig to see spanners being thrown in the workings, especially when big and perfect barrels are the playing field.
Gabriel Medina has shown enough class in heavy barreling lefts to be a potential Volcom Fiji Pro champion as well. He finished runner-up last year, so he’ll be looking to go one better, especially after his highly controversial heats with Ace Buchan and Adriano in the final rounds in Rio.
The rest are all capable of winning this event on their day. The Hobgoods, Parko, Owen Wright, Josh Kerr, the wildcard Mitch Coleborn, even the Spartan Michel Bourez could spring a surprise.
So tune in on http://www.volcomfijipro.com/ on Sunday 2 June at around 6:00pm SA time to see if they make a call to run on Day 1 of the Volcom Fiji Pro.
Here’s a teaser of what to expect: