With the exception of Connor O'Leary, it's been a challenging year for most of the rookies taking their first laps around the globe on the Championship Tour (CT). At the OK Fiji Pro, however, things have changed, specifically for Joan Duru and Leonardo Fioravanti. Coming into Fiji, Fioravanti was staring at a string of four 25th place results and had yet to progress out of Round Two. Now he's looking at a Quarterfinal matchup versus Michel Bourez, that's flipping the script.
O'Leary, for his part, has been the star of the Class of '17. By surfing into the Quarters in Fiji, he's guaranteed to at least match his 5th at Snapper. Of the three surfers, though, Duru's performances in Fiji may be the standout of the group. Despite a dearth of experience at Thundercloud reef, the goofyfoot from Bayonne, France, has found his joie de vivre, tapping into the elusive pace Cloudbreak requires -- a delicate dance between twisting the throttle and buffeting the brakes.