Mick Fanning in Fiji ASP

The world’s best surfers blasted the crystal-clear Pacific shores of Cloudbreak and Restaurants on Fiji during the fourth event of the ASP World Championship Tour, the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro.

Here's how it all went down as Kelly Slater claimed his 49th elite tour victory to close the gap on beaten semi-finalist and new ASP World Tour leader Mick Fanning.

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MONDAY, JUNE 11

Kelly Slater (USA), 40, the reigning 11-time ASP World Champion, claimed his 49th elite tour victory, taking the Volcom Fiji Pro over Gabriel Medina (BRA), 19, in pumping four-to-six foot (1.5–2 metre) surf at Cloudbreak.

The Volcom Fiji Pro culminated in exciting fashion, with Slater and Medina each pushing the limits of high-performance surfing at the famed, oceanic lefthander.

Slater wasted no time in the final against his young opponent, grabbing an 8.33 and a 9.83 in the opening half of the bout to put Medina on the ropes. The Brazilian, however, would not back down, claiming an 8.60 to put himself back in the hunt. Slater limited his scoreline to his two opening rides, and it proved enough for the Floridian to scalp the win as well as his first man-on-man victory over Medina.

'Gabriel had my number last year... he'll probably go on to beat everyone' – Kelly Slater

“It’s about time I got him,” Slater said. “He had my number in the back half of last year and he’ll probably go on to beat everyone for the next 20 years. He can do it all and I think he proved that to a lot of people this week at Restaurants and out here at Cloudbreak.”

Slater sent his first shots across the bow during the semi finals when the phenomenal natural-footer posted his second Perfect 10 of the event for a series of deep tube rides and critical turns.

“That’s probably the best I could surf out here,” Slater said. “The barrel and the turn sections just lined up for me and I was able to do what I did. That was a perfect canvas for me.”

After an absence at the previous event in Rio de Janeiro, Slater’s win in Fiji bolts him up from eighth to second on the ASP World Championship Tour ratings.

nullASP/Kelly Slater (right) and Gabriel Medina milk the moment

“I think everyone who competes on tour is here to win,” Slater said. “If you’re winning events, then you’re winning world titles. At this point in my career, I’m probably more focused on surfing well though. The waves just pumped today. Some guys win, some guys lose, but everyone is happy if the waves are good.”

Medina’s runner-up finish at the Volcom Fiji Pro rockets the young goofy-footer from 29th to 13th on the elite ASP World Championship Tour ratings.

“I’m pretty happy with my result,” Medina said. “The waves here have been so good all week and it has been a great trip. I haven’t had the best season in terms of results but I’m very happy to make the Final and congrats to Kelly (Slater) – he was surfing amazing all event.”

Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, the two-time ASP World Champion, has taken over the ASP WCT ratings’ lead with his equal third-placed finish at the Volcom Fiji Pro. A standout performer throughout the event, even having a crack at Cloudbreak during Friday’s mega swell, Fanning was unable to find a rhythm in Monday's semi-final bout with Medina.

'I feel like I'm surfing well so I'm pumped' – Mick Fanning

“I found myself on the wrong side of the rhythm this morning,” Fanning said. “It’s a bummer, but those heats happen. The ratings’ lead is great, but it’s so early in the season that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything at this point. That said, I’m feeling good and feel like I’m surfing well so I’m pumped.”

C.J. Hobgood (USA), 32, who along with his brother, Damien, are both hugely respected for their prowess in Fijian waters, went on a tear in his quarter-final bout against Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, scoring a 9.97 in the dying moments to advance through to the quarter finals.

“It was a blessing that wave came and it did,” Hobgood said. “I knew Adriano (de Souza) was going to post huge scores and he did. I wasn’t on my game at first. I should have sat up top and Adriano had me on the ropes. He’s been surfing so well this year and I don’t think he’s had a worse event than the semis. That wave came and I just put my head down. That feeling when they read out the score, it just feels good.”

Hobgood’s momentum, however, would run out in the semi finals against eventual winner Slater. His equal third-placed finish moves him from 15th to 12th on the ASP World Championship Tour ratings.

The next stop on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour will be the Billabong Pro Teahupoo from August 16–27.

VOLCOM FIJI PRO FINAL RESULTS
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.16
2 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.87

VOLCOM FIJI PRO SEMI-FINAL RESULTS
SF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.93 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6.57
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.50

VOLCOM FIJI PRO REMAINING QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS
QF 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.60 def. John John Florence (HAW) 9.10
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.60 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.46
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.57 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 7.76
QF 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.14 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.76

CURRENT ASP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR TOP 5 (After Volcom Fiji Pro):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 24,750 pts
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 23,700 pts
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 23,700 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 22,400 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 20,950 pts

nullASP/Kelly Slater paddles out ahead of Monday's final

SUNDAY, JUNE 10

The Volcom Fiji Pro recommenced this afternoon in four-to-six foot (1.5 – 2 metre) waves at Cloudbreak, completing Round 5 and the opening two quarter-final match-ups before calling competition off for the day due to unfavourable winds.

Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, the two-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 2, had a banner day out at Cloudbreak, besting former event winner Damien Hobgood (USA), 32, and lethal rookie John John Florence (HAW), 19, en route to the semi finals.

“It’s been a good day out here for me,” Fanning said. “You know, Damien (Hobgood) and John John (Florence) have to be two of the heaviest favorites out here and to get past both of them is a huge confidence boost going into the final rounds.”

Fanning will face Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, in the semi finals of the Volcom Fiji Pro.

Medina continued his impressive run in Fiji this afternoon, taking out perennial ASP World Title contender Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, in their quarter-final bout.

“The wind is picking up but there are still some really good waves out there,” Medina said. “It hasn’t been the best start for me this year on the WCT so I’m very happy to be in the semi finals. I love the waves here in Fiji and I hope we get to finish in good surf.”

Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, 2011 ASP Rookie of the Year and current ASP World No. 11, took on rival compatriot Owen Wright (AUS), 22, this afternoon in Round 5 of competition. As with all their exchanges at the elite level of competition, both surfers traded blows throughout the match with Wilson getting the win in the end.

“It feels good to get one back on Owen (Wright),” Wilson said. “I knew it’d be a tough draw with Owen on his forehand out here and I’ve had some good heats with him and I’m happy to get that one. I started the heat with some turns and a little head dip. It’s pretty clean out there on the faces and I’m just trying to adapt to the conditions.”

VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.17 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.54
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.03 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.00
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.83 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.00
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.57 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 7.50

nullASP/Julian Wilson in action in Round 5 of the Volcom Fiji Pro

SATURDAY, JUNE 9

The Volcom Fiji Pro relocated to the secondary venue of Restaurants today and draining four-to-six foot (1.5–2 metre) waves awaited the world’s best as Rounds 3 and 4 were completed, setting up a possible finish for Sunday.

The original 36-man field has been narrowed down to the final 12 as fans were treated to some of the best surfing at Restaurants ever witnessed with four perfect 10s being recorded before day’s end.

John John Florence (HAW), 19, put in the performance of the event this morning, threading impossibly long barrels on his backhand to attain a 19.30 out of a possible 20. The ASP Dream Tour rookie is relishing in his inaugural trip to Fiji, taking to South Pacific reef breaks with unmatched comfort.

“I’m still reeling from those waves,” Florence said. “This has been the best trip of my life and the waves we’ve had have been some of the best of my life too. Yesterday we had Cloudbreak about as big and perfect as it gets and today we’re getting four barrels a wave at Restaurants. It’s unbelievable.”

Florence went on to secure the event’s second perfect 10 in his afternoon Round 4 bout for yet another superb backhand barrel, reiterating the young Hawaiian’s supernatural affinity with the ocean. The current ASP World No. 5 has already advanced through to the quarter finals with several pundits tipping him as a legitimate ASP World Title contender this season.

“I didn’t have the best heat but I had that one really good wave,” Florence said. “The world title is always on your mind if you’re on this tour. I’ve thought about it, but usually just focus on the heat in front of me.”

Kelly Slater (USA), 40, the reigning 11-time ASP World Champion, wasted little time in his Round 3 affair against goofy-footer Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 30, posting a 9.27 and 8.27, both out of 10, in the opening minutes of his heat to post a convincing win.

“That was a lot of fun,” Slater said. “It’s a little anticlimactic after what went down yesterday, but it’s really fun Restaurants and there are some nice barrels. It’s a little tricky, you’ve got to watch the waves because there are some big sets coming in and the medium ones are better. Freddy (Patacchia) beat me out here once and I got him once but it doesn’t matter who it is, whoever gets the good waves is probably going to win the heat. You’ve got to try and pick a line and stick to it. You can get deep in the barrel, a lot deeper than you think.”

Slater backed up his sensational morning bout with an impressive afternoon run, posting the day’s fourth perfect 10 on his opening Round 4 ride and then backing it up with an 8.33 to overtake a rampaging Owen Wright (AUS), 22, and Heitor Alves (BRA), 30, to advance directly to the quarter finals.

“In truth, today is a bit anti-climatic when compared to what went down yesterday afternoon,” Slater said. “However, it is really good out there and there is some really good surfing going down.”

Although Wright was relegated to the elimination Round 5, the young goofy-footer put in sensational performances today, posting a 19.27 and a 17.90 (both out of 20) in Rounds 3 and 4 in his first ever surfs out at Restaurants.

“Those were the first times I’ve ever surfed Restaurants and I can’t believe it,” Wright said. “It’s wave after wave out there. Every wave you take off on, you make it all the way down to the end of the point and get three barrels in between. It’s just perfect. You can’t do anything wrong out there if you’re in the barrels and just site tight. It’s the best wave I’ve ever surfed.”

Wright will take on C.J. Hobgood (USA), 32, in Heat 3 of Round 5 when competition resumes.

Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, led the Brazilian charge today, topping fellow countryman Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, in a dominant Round 3 performance with a variety of technical barrels and committed turns over the infamous Restaurants reef.

“I had so much fun out there,” Medina said. “It was a fun heat against Alejo (Muniz). He’s a good friend of mine and I got a couple of fun ones and got a couple of barrels. I just went for it. The waves are so perfect and I just tried to surf and have fun out there.”

Medina then scored a sensational last-minute win in his non-elimination Round 4 bout against Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, and Mick Fanning (AUS), 30. Needing a solid score in the dying moments, Medina took off on a smaller wave and executed a series of forehand turns and aerials over dry reef to secure the 7.83 to advance directly to the quarter finals.

Parkinson and C.J. Hobgood (USA), 32, posted the balance of the day’s four perfect 10s for incredible barrels out at Restaurants.

When competition resumes, up first will be Damien Hobgood (USA), 32, up against Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, in the opening heat of Round 5.

VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.00 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.00
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 19.30 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.67
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.73 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.06
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 2.36
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.93 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.80
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.00 def. Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 15.00
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.14 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.50
Heat 8: Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.90 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.87
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.27 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 4.00
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 17.33 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.13
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.34
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.66 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.87

VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.17, Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.94, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.13
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.16, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.17, Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.50
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.33, Owen Wright (AUS) 17.90, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.86
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.40, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.80, Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.40

FRIDAY, JUNE 8

After a lay day on Thursday, the Volcom Fiji Pro took advantage of a small window of ideal winds to complete the second round match-ups before calling competition off for the day.

Bede Durbidge (AUS), 29, survived a hard-fought battle with compatriot Adam Melling (AUS), 27, in the opening heat of the day. Durbidge showcased an impressive command of the conditions, netting a 15.43 out of a possible 20 en route to his Round 2 win.

'Those were the biggest, most perfect waves I've ever surfed!'

Durbidge said: "It was pretty nerve-wracking being first up. We were on and then off and then on again. You have to be prepared to go. I think everyone on tour is more than capable of handling Cloudbreak as big as it gets, we just have to pick our window with the wind. Mello (Adam Melling) was charging out there too so tough luck to him but I'm pumped to get some bombs and get through to Round 3."

Durbidge will take on Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, in the opening heat of Round 3 when competition recommences.

Kai Otton (AUS), 32, exhibited a sterling case of forehand bravado in the final heat of the day, rebounding from a late charge from Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, to claim their Round 2 heat.

"It is really really big out there," Otton said. "Really big and really perfect. Raoni (Monteiro) gets the hero award today. He pulled into a monster and got crushed for it. If that wave didn't come in for me at the end, that would have been it for me. Thankfully it did and I survive to surf another day."

Monteiro pulled into an incredibly large barrel towards the end of his heat, earning huge cheers from the hundreds in the channel. Unfortunately, the Brazilian paid for his heroics with a hyper-extended ligament in his knee.

Otton will face Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25, in Round 3 of the Volcom Fiji Pro. Event organizers will reconvene on Saturday morning at 6.30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOLCOM FIJI PRO REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.43 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 14.23
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.33 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 12.34

VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
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. Kai Otton (AUS)

null© ASP/ Kirstin / Julian Wilson on Day One

THURSDAY, JUNE 7

There was another lay day in Cloudbreak, Tavarua, Fiji, at the Volcom Fiji Pro today – the third since the event started on June 3. So far, Round One and all but two heats in Round Two have been completed. But organisers are positive that the waves will arrive.

“There was very little on offer out there today so we’ve called a lay day,” said Matt Wilson, Volcom Fiji Pro Event Director. “Swell models are still indicating a significant system to move in tomorrow and peak tomorrow night with waves throughout the weekend. We’ll be back tomorrow to assess conditions.”

Current ASP World Tour leader Joel Parkinson is hopeful too: "I think there’s a few waves coming. It’s massive at home. I don’t know how big it’s going to be but the only thing that worries me is the wind. We haven’t really had any trade winds since we’ve been here. Light and variables could mean light offshore and could mean a bit of onshore too. There’s nothing worse than perfect swell with a light onshore."

The event's official forecasters Surfline say there's a significant south-southwest swell ready to move in on Friday, June 8. Fingers crossed.

Organizers will assess conditions at 6:30am tomorrow morning.

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 

null© ASP/ Robertson / Jordy Smith in Round One

WATCH IT AGAIN:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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