One day after knocking out four-time Fiji winner Kelly Slater at Cloudbreak, rookie Connor O'Leary reminded everyone why he's the current frontrunner for this year's Rookie of the Year honor. In a hard-fought heat, O'Leary earned a huge Round Four win over fellow rookie Joan Duru and a resurgent Joel Parkinson. While Duru made a valiant late charge, O'Leary edged him by the slimmest of margins -- just .16 points, to earn another trip to the Quarterfinals.
"It's hard to avoid the barrel out here," O'Leary said afterward, referring to the turns vs. tube debate at play on Wednesday. "But Luke Egan [O'Leary's coach] said it's more risk than reward, he told me to open up and get back on my tail...so I did." Egan, it should be noted, already has one 2017 Fiji Pro Champ in his stable in the form of Women's Pro winner Courtney Conlogue. Now he's banking on the rookie to make it happen again. If his plans pan out, the bartenders will be handing out life preservers with the pints over on Namotu.