Tensions Mount as Title Race Heads to Fiji
As the World Tour leaves behind the beachbreaks of Rio, the roaring reef breaks of Fiji greet them with open barrels. All week has been been pretty big and has given competitors some practice time before the start of the Volcom Fiji Pro on June 2nd (June 1st in the USA)!
After finishing in 2nd place at the Billabong Rio Pro, Adriano De Souza sits atop the ratings list, and is closely followed by the Rio Pro winner Jordy Smith. With the title race turned upside down, Adriano and Jordy are now the ones to beat. The uber-consistent Mick Fanning is only 300 points behind Adriano, and only 50 points behind Jordy, and is the only other surfer to crack the 18,000 point mark after the first three events on tour.
Here are the guys to watch out for at Fiji:
Adriano De Souza – Even giant reefbreaks like Cloudbreak can’t stop Adriano’s competitive fire. De Souza made it to the quarters last year in epic conditions, so expect him to be in the mix at the pointy end of the contest once again. Adriano has made it into two finals in a row, with a win at Bells, and a second in Rio. He is EASILY the most prepared surfer on tour, showing up weeks before anyone else at each event and surfing the contest venue wave exclusively. He’s on a roll, watch out.
Jordy Smith – An obvious pick, sure. But make no mistake, this is a new and improved Jordy – version 2.0 if you will. Jordy is in his best shape, is using his best equipment ever, and is focused and hungry. As long as lightning doesn’t strike him down, Jordy will make it to the final rounds no matter what the size of the swell.
Kelly Slater – As defending Volcom Fiji Pro champion, Slater will light it up if the swell pulses to scary size. And if it’s just overhead? Well, Cloudbreak and Restaurants have been Kelly’s favorite waves on earth for over 20 years, so yeah, he will be unstoppable either way. It’s a fact that Kelly gets amped when there’s good swells during competition, and a substantial swell is on the way to Fiji as you read this. There will no doubt be some major heroics from everybody’s hero.
Mick Fanning – It seems easy to just go down the ratings list and pick the top five guys as my picks, but these guys have earned it and are definitely the most feared guys to come up against in a heat right now. And Mick is right there with them. Sitting in third on the ratings, Mick has all single digit results on tour so far this year (3rd, 5th, 3rd). Given his lethal backside barrel attack, Mick will be on the hunt for a win in Fiji. The come-from-behind victory over Parko at Teahupo’o last year is a hint of what’s coming from Mick at Cloudbreak this year. Fanning was also one of the only World Tour surfers out on “The Big Day” during last year’s legendary big wave session during the 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro.
The Hobgoods – CJ made it to the semis last year. Damien made it to Round 5. It’s no secret that these guys dominate big left reefs, and Cloudbreak is their specialty. The bigger it gets, the better for these two. Both have lackluster results so far this year, so watch out for a run to the finals from both as they know the South Pacific leg of the tour is their best chance to jump up the ratings.
John John Florence – JJF is back after a frustrating ankle injury he sustained at the Quik Pro. As you would imagine, he is frothing to get back in the competitive scene and surf good Cloudbreak. Since he is a super-talented freak of nature, everyone expects big things from John John at this event. If he surfs at 75% he could beat half the field. If he is at 100%, or better yet if he is on fire, he will beat everyone and put on a show to be remembered.
Final Day Highlights 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro
“The Big Day” – 2012 Volcom Fiji Pro
Watch the Volcom Fiji Pro LIVE WEBCAST from June 2nd – 14th. (Remember Fiji is a day ahead of the USA, so action starts on June 1st in the states!)