KELLY Slater wins the Volcom Fiji Pro in dominant fashion over world number 2, Mick Fanning. A headline unlikely to illicit much surprise, he might not be the King of Fiji but he's the boss out at Cloudbreak.
Imperious perhaps best describes Kelly out there, this is his territory and he is everywhere. Never more so than when he collected only the fourth 20 point perfect heat total on ASP record against Seabass in the quarterfinals. “What a day,” Said he. “That was insane. When we stared out in the Final, Mick had position and I was a little deep, but the next one was unbelievable. I want to dedicate this to my brother and his wife and their new kid Van. He told me that if I missed the birth of his son, that I’d better win, so this is for you. I want to say hi to everyone at home. What can I say, what a day.”
I want to dedicate this to my brother and his wife and their new kid Van. He told me that if I missed the birth of his son, that I’d better win, so this is for you.Kelly Slater
“The waves are the stars today,” Slater said. “When they come, they’re unbelievable. I missed one in that heat that was insane. The second 10 that I got, Seabass (Sebastian Zietz) maybe could have got it, but he was a little deep. It just hit that inside and ran. It reminded me of the one yesterday that i didn’t come out of and I just though, ‘just keep going forward, don’t make the same mistake as yesterday.’ When waves are this good, I don’t discount it happening a few times in this event because the waves are there, you just have to stand up on them. Theoretically, I could have had three 10s yesterday, the waves were just that good. It’s a special thing if you can get a 10 in a heat, so I’m really stoked.”
For all the smoke and mirrors over what 2014 will bring, the tour is a great place right now with an amazingly varied group of surfers all knocking together in that top 38 (as it is now). Age, youth, power, style, aerials, all bubbling nicely together. Not to mention the Spartan-esque athleticism, optimised by the runner-up, Mick Fanning.
“I’m pretty stoked." said Mick "I started off with the 9.2 and saw Kelly doing the Jesus Christ on the one behind it. When Kelly didn’t get a 10 on his first wave, I thought, ‘I’m still in this,’ but then he shut the door on the next one. Overall I’m happy. I didn’t really have a good start to this event and then at the end it came good.”
Such is the awe John John currently basks in you would not have put it past him to win his first event back from injury. After knocking out the then world number one Jordy Smith and posting a couple of 10s that faith was bolstered, up until he met Kelly Slater and he's not superman is he? He's just a really good surfer.
“It would have been nice to go one round further and make the finals, but a third is a good result and we got sick waves throughout the event. To get a third in my first event back since my injury is a good start and hopefully I can do well in Bali.John John Florence
“It would have been nice to go one round further and make the finals, but a third is a good result and we got sick waves throughout the event,” Florence said. “To get a third in my first event back since my injury is a good start and hopefully I can do well in Bali.”
Who else impressed? Sebastian Zietz, he's loving his rookie year, that kooky Kauai boy appears to be both funny and insanely competitive. As much as personality matters in surfing? Does it? I mean, you might want to spend an evening straining almond milk with Kelly but a month of it might have you running back to cow shed. Winning is the ultimate currency in competitive surfing and he's a winner just like Kelly and their quarterfinal matchup was no gimmie. Until Kelly scored an unbeatable 20 points, the second of his career.
All the plaudits will rightfully be heading Kelly Slater's way, but did you see Parko's 9.87 yesterday? First up one of the cleanest and well-timed barrels followed by a gargantuan hooking cutback, the scale of which dwarfed anything else laid down, well, since the one he pulled in Round 3. And that's Parko in 2013, defending World Champion and free to surf as he wants. His rail-work is immaculate, the lines he cuts are something impossible to imagine unless you read the wave like it is your own creation. Often he's been underscored or criticised for a lack of effort, for apparently making it all look too easy (his heat loss to Mick Fanning fell foul of the wave gods with progression just a toss of the coin).
Parko's secret weapon to score more highly for doing what he's alway done is: slow it down and emphasise your difference. He's moving in real time but it's analogous to watching a turn in slow motion. The exaggerated soul-arches he's pulling serve as a visual reminder to the watcher, a punctuation mark if you like, that here is a surfer who is different everyone else. I'm smooth, powerful and graceful but above all I have the time to enjoy my waves. And you, the audience and the judges need to take note of me.
Next stop Oakley Pro Bali, which holds a waiting period from June 18-29, 2013.
Fancy doing this yourself? Check out the forecast for the Volcom Fiji Pro.
And don't forget Volcom's Heats on Demand
VOLCOM FIJI PRO
1 - Kelly Slater (USA) 19.80
2 - Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.87
VOLCOM FIJI PRO SEMIFINALS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.17 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.00
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.07 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.70
VOLCOM FIJI PRO QUARTERFINALS:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 19.06 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.67
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.10
QF 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.77 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.50
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.13 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.83