The Fiji Pro, ran through Round 2 and half of Round 3 today. Day two of competition saw 18 surfers eliminated as the world’s best battled in three-to-five foot surf at Cloudbreak.
Tiago Pires caused the upset of the day in Round 2 after matching up against C.J. Hobgood. Both surfers looked on form but Pires, despite struggling to find a wave in the early stages, pounced at the 20-minute mark amassing a 7.77 and taking the lead. With seven minutes on the clock the 2001 ASP World Champion was left chasing a score that never came. Pires moves onto Round 3 after eliminating one of the most consistent performers at the Fiji Pro.
“C.J. (Hobgood) is one of the best surfers out there and I knew it was going to be a tough heat,” said Tiago Pires. “I was a bit stressed at the beginning of the heat but after I got that seven I felt more confident. I was really disappointed after my heat yesterday, it was one of my lowest scores in ASP history, but I kept my nerve and I knew I had something to show. I really like surfing backside in these powerful waves.”
Reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning bounced back from his Round 1 loss yesterday to win through Rounds 2 and 3. Fanning defeated dangerous wildcard Wiggolly Dantas and Alejo Muniz with sharp turns and carves and difficult tube rides and is now through to Round 4.
“I’d love to win this event,” said Mick Fanning. “Kelly has had a strangle hold on it for a long time. There are so many great surfers out here that are so good, so a lot can happen.”
Nat Young, fresh from a Round 2 victory against compatriot Brett Simpson, took to the water alongside Kai Otton for a battle of the goofy-footers. Despite a quiet start Young posted an excellent 8.93 for a solid barrel and took a commanding lead. While Otton displayed his full forehand repertoire, Young was able to add an additional 7.40 at Cloudbreak to secure his place in Round 4.
“I’m feeling good and I had a lot of fun out there,” said Nat Young. “I got a lot of waves and I kept getting barrels so that was fun. I get to surf the non-elimination Round so at the least I get two more heats and I’m looking forward to it. My goal for Fiji is to do better than I did last year, when I got a 9th place.”
Michel Bourez gave the performance of the event in Round 3 Heat 3. He matched up against Jeremy Flores, who previously took out Mitch Crews in Round 2, in barreling conditions at Cloudbreak. Bourez put on a clinic, posting a 9.50 and a 9.20 while throwing away an 8.33. Flores suffered a broken board on his first wave and was unable find the score needed to back up a 7.67. Flores leaves the event with an equal 17th place and Bourez moves on to Round 4.
“The conditions turned on during my heat,” said Michel Bourez. “It was very, very positive for me to be out there and get barrelled. I’m not going to quit and I’m not going to give up. I feel like it’s everyone’s chance to win. You just have to stay positive and stick with your game. Getting two 9’s and and an 8 in my heat is amazing, I was going crazy out there.”
Round 2 Heat 4 saw South African Jordy Smith take on Brazilian Filipe Toledo. Smith got off to a quick start, throwing his powerful frame into a flurry of backhand blasts. Toledo, having previously despatched compatriot Jadson Andre, hunted the barrel early on with little success. Despite this he went on to secure set waves of his own, assaulting them with speed, versatility and progression to take the win late in the affair. Toledo secures his place in Round 4, bettering his 25th place finish at last year's Fiji Pro.
“The heat started slow but got much better,” said Filipe Toledo. “I started to focus on the barrels and doing some big turns. I’m a bit sad about not always getting the results I want but I just need to keep doing well in each heat and making it through to the next Round.”
Australian powerhouses Owen Wright and Bede Durbidge reveled in the ideal afternoon Cloudbreak conditions, with Durbidge establishing an early lead due to a series of ferocious backhand snaps. Wright got off to a slower start, but eventually locked into one of the best waves of the day. The goofy-footer unloaded a big forehand carve that set him up for a deep barrel ride that was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.33. With seconds remaining, Durbidge belted another wave, but his 7.50 fell shy of the score needed to surpass Wright, who moves on to Round 4.
“I’m pretty glad that the barrels won that one,” said Owen Wright. “I actually didn’t know the heat had started so I just let that first wave go. My start wasn’t great but it came together towards the middle of the heat.”
11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater dominated his Round 3 heat against wildcard Mitch Coleborn. The reigning four-time event winner struck first and Coleborn hit back with a deep tube to earn a 5.33. Slater then backed up his opener with a solid 8.50 courtesy of a long Cloudbreak barrel and left Coleborn in a combination situation. Coleborn battled hard, but couldn't match Slater and must to settle for a 3rd Round exit as Slater advanced into Round 4.
Fiji Pro Round 2 Results
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.00 def. Isei Tokovou (FJI) 4.43
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.43 def. Wiggolly Dantas (AUS) 11.60
Heat 3: Glenn Hall (AUS) 11.76 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.97
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) 14.67 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.17
Heat 5: Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.87 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.40
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.37 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.20
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.10 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.93
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.70 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.83
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.10 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.10
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.90 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.50
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.10 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.96
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.53 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 9.70
Fiji Pro Round 3 Results
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.44
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 16.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.20
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 18.70 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.57
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.70 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.43
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.16 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.93
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.33 def. Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 9.43
Upcoming Round 3 Match-ups
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Sebastian Zeitz (HAW)
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)