10 reasons why Fiji will be the contest of the year
By Chick Tosdale The clock is ticking, and the world’s best tube wranglers are currently twiddling their thumbs in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, waiting in anticipation for the 2014 Fiji Pro to start. But the swell? Yeah, that ain’t cooperating just yet. But don’t let a long-range swell forecast from the best […]
By Chick Tosdale
The clock is ticking, and the world’s best tube wranglers are currently twiddling their thumbs in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, waiting in anticipation for the 2014 Fiji Pro to start. But the swell? Yeah, that ain’t cooperating just yet. But don’t let a long-range swell forecast from the best in the biz rattle your cage. Mother Nature is a fickle beast and can flip the script faster than you can pass judgment on this article. If history is any indicator, Fiji has easily earned its reputation as one of the best locations in the world to pull on a jersey, and this year is no different.
10. Carnage and destruction
In any sporting event, spectators love wipeouts, wrecks, crashes, and carnage. Ever watched a car race and hoped that no one would crash? Us either. As we all saw in the women’s event, Fiji can kick your ass and break your face. The ladies charged, and some paid the price, but man, wasn’t that fun to watch! When the men hit the lineup expect to see blood, guts, and glory. Hopefully nothing serious, but just enough to keep us all glued to our computers like sharks circling a wounded seal, as was the case with the 2012 Fiji Pro (above).
9. Postcards from paradise
A classic seascape from Tavarua. Soak it up.
The hatred and jealously we all feel when we watch the ‘beauty shots’ of pro surfers lounging around the incredible Tavarua pool, or basking in the golden sun on the deck is intense. But take a step back and try your best to soak it up and use your imagination. Put yourself in that pool, use your mind and feel yourself dipping your toes into the Tavarua Jacuzzi. Taste that Namotu Skulldragger hit your lips… that’s nice isn’t it. Don’t be a hater, be an embracer. Pour yourself a tropical cocktail and enjoy the show.
8. Prepare for the claiming
He might be on the opposite end of this claim, but Reef Mcintosh was certainly in a position to wave his arms around here. Photo by Stu Gibson.
There will be claims. There will be wild, extended out of control claims, and to some, they could be too much. But if you prepare yourself, claims can be cool. Just imagine getting shot out of a tube at macking Cloudbreak, or escaping an impossible 15-second-drainer at Restaurants. You’d claim it too and don’t even say you wouldn’t. Everyone will be claiming, Brazilian, Hawaiian, American, etc. If you are gonna complain about the claims, keep it to yourself, complaining about a claim is a claim in it’s own right, so don’t be a claimer, unless you’re on a wave.
7. The perfect heat
Last year Kelly Slater scored three 10-point rides on finals day, and two of those in one heat. Scary huh? Photo by ASP/Robertson.
If the waves cooperate like we hope they do (but we now know they may not), there will be a two-ten heat in Fiji this year. If you think about it, the illusive ‘perfect heat’ shouldn’t be that hard for these guys. All you gotta do is get two of the best barrels ever ridden at Cloudbreak or Restaurants in the span of 25 or 30 minutes, no big deal right? Ask Kelly Slater how easy it is, he does it all the time!
6. Ass dragging
Kelly Slater applying the booty brakes. Photo by Dave Nilson.
How good is the ass drag tube ride? Of all the breaks on Tour, Fiji is the ass drag capital of the world. John John, Slater, Julian, Jordy, Mick, Parko, and more all dragging ass through some of the most deepest tubes you’re likely to see on this planet. The ass drag can only be beaten by the double arm stall (DJ and Damo Hobgood style), but it’s debatable what gets you deeper, and over the past couple of years at Clourdbreak and Restaurants, the ass draggers have had the edge. Tighten your trunks gents, asses are about to be dragged hard!
5. The not-so-secret rivalry
Sally Fitzgibbons took home the crown for the Aussies this year, possibly fuelled by a pep talk by Scotty. Photo by ASP/Robertson.
The two islands of Tavarua and Namotu are buddies in theory, but in reality, they’re fierce rivals when it comes to who gets to take home the crown. Generally during the Fiji Pro, the Aussie’s take over Namotu and the Yanks and others take over Tavarua. Slater, who stays with Tavarua’s main man in command, Jon Roseman, has taken more titles for Tavi than anyone, so you can bet that Scotty, the affable Aussie who owns Namotu will be giving the pep talk of the century to Namotu residents Fanning and Parko imploring them to bring the title back to the ‘other’ island. Oh, and Gabriel Medina is staying on Namotu as well, so their chances could be pretty damn good for the win this year.
Josh Kerr comes to Fiji for the Oreo cookie milkshakes, but stays for the slingshots into open faces. Photo by ASP/Kirstin.
Carving is probably the most underrated but coolest looking part of surfing big long reef breaks. Between tubes, you will be witness to some meat grinding carves that look like snowboarding. Wanna know what I’m talking about? Watch Kelly Slater’s performance from last years’ final day. Best f–king carves ever done, hands down. Get your knives out.
There will be blood, tears, broken hearts, broken boards, injuries, Jet Ski rescues, crazy tubes, crazier wipeouts, and tones of nail-biting close calls in every heat. It’s one thing to win with a last second hail Mary air on a two-foot wave, it’s another to get spit out of a 12-footer on to dry reef with sea snakes biting your ankles just to get the score. Drama is awesome, and we’re in for a lot of it at the Fiji Pro.
2. World Title Race
If Gabriel Medina wins Fiji, look out. Photo by ASP/Kirstin.
Yep, it’s on and this event will be a huge factor going in to the home stretch of contests leading up to the final event at Pipeline. If Gabriel Medina wins Fiji, watch the hell out. If Slater wins, start printing those World Title shirts now. But wait, Spartan, Parko, and Taj are laser focused and will be surfing with straight up World Title psych! If one of these guys wins Fiji, you can bet they’re the favorite for the rest of the year.
1.Best tubes on tour
Bruce Irons experiencing the best Cloudbreak has to offer. Photo by Stu Gibson.
Pipeline may have the legacy and the gnar, Teahupoo may have the girth, but if you’re talking long, deep, and crazy tube rides, Cloudbreak and Restaurants are the cat’s meow of tube riding waves. Cloudbreak, when it’s on, allows for multiple tubes while Restaurants can offer up some of the longest escapable tubes of anywhere in the world, a real tube-timers dream wave.
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