There's a sizeable swell on long range forecast for Fiji. Unfortunately for the Pro it is two weeks hence and matters not; the semifinalists have been decided and there's barely a wrinkle shared amongst them.
Semifinal 1 is Nat Young vs. Michel Bourez and semifinal 2: Gabriel Medina vs. Kolohe Andino. The Aussies on Namoutu Island have been wiped-out and the younger Americans have stood-up. Plus a certain Brazilian and the almost local boy from Tahiti, give or take 2000 miles of ocean. When Bourez beat Kelly the restaurant cheered and you haven't seen that partisan attitude since Andy Irons won in Tahiti.
You could well put it down to swell size. In bigger waves the old guard flourish, committing knowledge laid down here over the years into points on the board. Whereas in medium waves the scores reward speed/flow and progressive combos which young minds and fast twitch muscles formed in skate bowls deliver so easily. But that wasn't the case. Kelly got enough good waves to beat Bourez, he just fell at crucial times, hit the lip too late, and was mown down by a priority move. The momentum is with the powerful Spartan surfing a traditional brand of heavyweight hitting, and it showed. Bourez put his turns in the power socket, Kelly was often a couple of foot too late.
Kelly got enough good waves to beat Bourez, he just fell at crucial times, hit the lip too late, and was mown down by a priority move. The momentum is with the powerful Spartan...
A fact not lost on Bourez, "I don't know what happened with his [Kelly's] board but I don't think it felt great." Of the five guys to have beaten Kelly in heat here at Cloudbreak only Bourez and Freddy P are still on tour. But all eyes are on the composed Tahitian who could take a lead in the ratings. "I have proved myself today... I wish it was a bit bigger but I'm always happy to make a heat." He said "I just want to put on a show."
Fresh faced surfing is capable hands right now with Nat Young taking out reigning champ, Mick Fanning, to claim another semi final slot. He was backed-up by bezzie mate Kolohe Andino who has manned-up and started battering opponents. When did this happen?
“Today was for sure the best I’ve ever surfed since I’ve been on Tour,” said Kolohe Andino. “I felt really calm which is good for me and I’m stoked. I’m still improving and my board change has really helped. I’m just taking it heat by heat and really enjoying myself out there so we’ll see what happens. I’m stoked that Nat (Young) is still in the draw because he’s my best friend on Tour.”
The final semi final spot was between John John Florence and Gabriel Medina who faced off in lack-lustre inconsistent conditions.
“I felt good and John John (Florence) is always a tough guy to beat,” said Gabriel Medina. “We’ve already had some good battles with each other and he’s one of my favorite surfers, so that felt good. It’s always good to be up there at the top of the ratings and this was a good result but I’m focused on my surfing and having fun.”
The last few heats will probably run on Friday in slightly smaller conditions and we’ll be crowning a new Fiji Pro champion.
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
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.60
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 16.17 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.03
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.63 def. Freddy Patacchia Jr (HAW) 15.10
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 18.63 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.56
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.07 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.60
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.24 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.74
Fiji Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 13.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.74, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.13
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.77, Owen Wright (HAW)13.07
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.20, John John Florence (HAW) 10.93, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 9.83
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.27, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.14, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.37
Fiji Pro Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.86
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.44 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.20
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 16.70 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.34
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.10
Fiji Pro Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Nat Young (USA) 14.27 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 7.50
Quarterfinal 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 8.90
Quarterfinal 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.20 def. John John Florence (HAW) 6.34
Quarterfinal 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 18.36 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.93
Fiji Pro Semifinal Match-ups:
Semifinal 1: Nat Young (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Semifinal 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)