Stab Magazine | Stab's Picks For The 2015 Fiji Pro
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Stab’s Picks For The 2015 Fiji Pro

The Fiji Pro starts in a minute. Restaurants? Cloudbreak? Wherever it is… we’re jonesing for bladework from the 34. Sadly, Fiji will be without John John Florence, Jordy Smith, Michel Bourez or Brett Simpson. Jordy announced yesterday morning that he’d be opting out via Instagram: “Due to my knee injury I’m still not 100 percent, I’ve pulled out of the Fiji event.” […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Fiji Pro starts in a minute. Restaurants? Cloudbreak? Wherever it is… we’re jonesing for bladework from the 34. Sadly, Fiji will be without John John Florence, Jordy Smith, Michel Bourez or Brett Simpson. Jordy announced yesterday morning that he’d be opting out via Instagram: “Due to my knee injury I’m still not 100 percent, I’ve pulled out of the Fiji event.” But you lose some, you gain some: Like Jay Davies, thanks to a quarters finish in this year’s Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, and Dane Reynolds, thanks to the last eight years of his surfing. Six(ish) feet at 14-second periods are forecast for Friday and Saturday, and hopefully we’ll see a Saturday start. And so, here are Stab‘s usual bias-riddled predictions, care of South African ex-pro surfer, ex-commentator, Damien Fahrenfort. Don’t bet the mortgage on these picks, but certainly take note.

Words by Damien Fahrenfort

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Fiji_Picks_Kelly_Christie

Photo: Andrew Christie

1. Kelly Slater.
I had a conversation with a friend during the Fiji event two years ago. My mate was nervous about making a really large bet on Slater to win the comp. I was trying to convince him to do it out of pure selfishness. While on one hand I wanted him to win some serious coin, my main motivation was to watch with him while he lost his shit. I tried and I tried to convince him but I wasn’t really getting my story over the line. Eventually out of desperation I got him to go all in with this: “As long as there has been an ocean and people going into it, there has never been a human being better than Kelly Slater in it.” He made some serious cash and started trusting me, which has resulted in him probably losing more than he won since then.

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Fiji_Picks_Miggie_Bielman

Photo: Brian Bielmann

2. Miguel Pupo
Because, this silky smooth Brazilian Storm honorary has some skill inside the tube and a very good rail game. If it was going to be huge I’d probably shy away from him, but at the six to eight foot range I think he might pull a quarterfinal finish or better. He charges and seems to have the ability to thread an almondy style barrel pretty well, which a lot of guys on tour aren’t great at.

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Dane_Cloudbreak_FF_Dave_Nilsen

Photo: Dave Nilsen

3. Dane Reynolds.
Did anyone just watch Sampler? There might not be any big left footage in there but there’s no doubt that he’s still one of the best surfers in the world. You’d have to be a hater to argue this but I’m still a Dane groupie. Dane and gal just had a little boy which might take the pressure off in the contest and expectation department but either way it’s going to be really fun watching Dane at good Cloudbreak, because his last few showings in events the waves have been horrendous. Here’s a rather formal statement from Dane to the WSL: “I’m surprised and excited to get a wildcard into the Fiji Pro. After being home for a month and a half raising my kid, it’s going to be like a vacation. Not really though, because Cloudbreak is a challenging, intimidating and complicated lineup where you have to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself on the line… which you don’t usually do on vacation. I’m pumped and honored to join the world’s best and try to conquer it.”

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Photo: WSL/Robertson

Photo: WSL/Robertson

4. Wiggolly Dantas
We all know he charges, but what you might not know about Wiggles is he’s one of the biggest wave magnets I’ve ever seen in the ocean. It’s unbelievable, he’s always on the bombs and it’s probably because he spends a lot of time in the water. What I think will play in his favor is that he disperses a lot of water on his turns which works well in the scoring department at Fiji. A good barrel and then a few gaffs that spread some water around and he’s looking at a big score. He also runs a Da Hui sticker which is pretty cool: Honorary member, so don’t fuck with him.

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Fiji_Picks_Nat_Bielmann

Photo: Brian Bielmann

5. Nat Young
Second in last year’s Fiji event to Gabs. Like Wiggolly, he’s a wave magnet. Nat is solid and sticks to his game which I really like. He also never claims which is another reason he’s badass. He’s not trying to surf like anyone else or live up to some sort of prefabricated expectation. He goes out and gets the job done. Nat rules Pipe which like Fiji is an uneven line up, you’ve gotta be on the hunt for the bombs and the workers tend to do well here.

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Fiji_Picks_Kerr_Bielmann

Photo: Brian Bielmann

6. Josh Kerr.
An absolute tube pig and he made the quarters the year it was pumping. Last year Kerr lost in the second round to Micro, but I have a feeling that he might pull through this year. Maybe even get his first win. Josh has definitely lifted his game in the turns department, but he probably won’t need them at this year’s event because it’s looking like it might be all tubes.

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Fiji_Picks_Mick_Bielmann

Photo: Brian Bielmann

7. Mick Fanning.
Because John John Florence is out and Mick would be my replacement for him. Mick is so damn good at everything there’s a good chance he’ll win this comp, from turns to hunting gems in a tricky lineup. He came second to Kelly here in 2013 when it was firing and he’s currently in the running for a title. De Souza might slip again, and Mick will get busy. One thing all the higher seeds will have trouble with is the wildcards. Dane and Jay are capable of beating most of the top dawgs, but not Mick I’d say.

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Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Jay Davies (AUS)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Ace Buchan (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Ricardo Christie (AUS), Aca Ravulo (FJI)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), CJ Hobgood (USA)
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW) Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS) ,
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW)

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Want a little piece of Fiji yourself? You’re in luck. Corona is taking over Namotu Island for seven days and looking for one very, very lucky winner to handpick nine pals and come along for the ride. 

You’ll surf til you can’t surf anymore (boat rides to seven world class spots) and then drink from an endless supply of icy cold Corona. Life, eh?

To win, just go buy a Corona at selected venues across Australia in June, head here, enter your details and unique product code to get in the mix with a chance to win.

ENTER HERE

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