Was Fiji Last Week As Special As The Thundercloud Swell Of 2012? - Stab Mag

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"Could have been deeper?" older bro John Florence cackled on IG from blown-out Portugal. Clearly we weren't the only ones with FOMO. Frame: Zoard

Was Fiji Last Week As Special As The Thundercloud Swell Of 2012?

“I’ve never seen so many people get so many good ones,” said 2023 SSOTY Nathan Florence.

Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Conditions: better than forecasted. Swell: bigger than forecasted. A crew of some of the elite big wave guys and some really talented guys putting their time in. It turned into one-after-another guys getting the best waves of their life, surfing big waves like six-footers. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

– Nathan Florence

There is a near-0% chance that if you are a surfer on social media you didn’t catch a glimpse of how incredible the waves were in Fiji last week. Large, buttery electric blue holes spinning from the top of the 5,000 sq. meter reef pass (thanks MEGA lab) to the prickly end section at Shish Kababs.

March is early for Cloudy to be arching its back, and esoteric theories regarding the shift in the earth’s core rotation have been fingered as the source of the uncharacteristic light-trades and roaring south swells ripping up the Tasman.

“It was fucked up. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Nozvid filmmaker Mikey Mallalieu told Stab, pouring gasoline on the FOMO of those scrolling the highlights. 

The two waves Soli Bailey and Jai Glindeman caught, two Northern Rivers locals better known for their panache on sand-bottomed right points, went straight to the top of the most spectacular waves ridden so far in 2024. Tom Jennings’ might have to rethink his BSIES, at the very least, his showreel this season will break new ground in water cinematography. 

Can you imagine swimming a camera housing underneath some of these beasts? Man is a seal. 

Two incredibly athletic specimens at work.

“I’ve never seen a session where every single person got one of the best waves of the day,” 2023’s Surfer of the Year Nathan Florence reflected after some holy experiences on his 8’5” swallowtail Pyzel Padillac. 

The Thundercloud session of 2012, which took place after the Volcom Fiji Pro was called off due to unsafe conditions, has since been the high water mark of Cloudbreak quality. Based on Nathan’s vid title and the shared features from this last run of swell, it might not be a hyperbolic leap to say Fiji last week was as good as she’s been since. 


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