CLOUDBREAK, Tavarua/Fiji (Tuesday, June 11, 2013) - The world's best surfers returned to action today at the Volcom Fiji Pro, completing Rounds 3, 4 and 5 to determine the event's Quarterfinalists in perfect six-to-eight foot (2 - 2.5 metre) surf at Cloudbreak.
Event No. 4 of 10 on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Volcom Fiji Pro was treated to a full day of world class ripping, setting up a possible finish for tomorrow.
Kelly Slater (USA), 41, current ASP World No. 4 and defending Volcom Fiji Pro Champion, was incredible while advancing to the Quarterfinals over Jeremy Flores (FRA), 25, and Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25, in Round 4, earning a Perfect 10 and 9.30 for a near-excellent 19.30 out of a possible 20. Slater's perfect score was due to a massive double-barrel, which saw the 11-time ASP World Champion drive through two deep tube sections covering the distance of the reef.
â€œThat was unbelievable," Slater said. "Those were some of the best waves I've ever had in a contest. On the 10, I was deep in the barrel and grabbed my rail, but I had to let go to get speed and then I hit the foam ball, I barely made that one. I did the turn and got another tube. On that one big one, it was so perfect and I just wanted to be in the right spot. As I was in the barrel, it spit really hard and there was lots of mist and I couldn't see. The foamball pushed my tail up in to the wave and I just couldn't come out the way I wanted to. I didn't even care if I won or lost, because I'd get to surf again.â€
John John Florence (HAW), 20, who posted a perfect 10 at Restaurants in Round 2, was flawless again at Cloudbreak, collecting his second perfect score with a series of seamless backhand turns followed by a deep barrel. Florence's effort would see him advance directly to the Quarterfinals over rankings leader Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, and veteran Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, in their Round 4 clash.
â€œI didn't know what the score was going to be because it was a bit of a smaller wave," Florence said. "I did a couple of turns and then had the long running barrel on the inside and I was stoked to make it. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing. I've been going out having fun and I'm going to try and do the same thing in the next round.â€
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, reigning ASP World Champion and current No. 8, was impeccable in the open-ocean lineup of Cloudbreak, combining deep barrels and massive carves to ignite several of the day's top scores. Parkinson would oust replacement surfer Yadin Nicol (AUS), 27, in Round 3, continuing with a dominant Round 4 effort over California up-and-comers Kolohe Andino (USA), 19, and Nat Young (USA), 21.
â€œThe waves are so good that it felt like a crime to come in," Parkinson said. "It was one of those heats you hope to get where the conditions just seemed like it turned on. That was a dream heat, we actually missed some of the good waves. Cloudbreak is the best left in the world. I love Tahiti, but with how fast you can go and get barrels and do turns and everything, to me, it's the best left in the world."
C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33, 2001 ASP World Champion and current No. 16, advanced to the Quarterfinals via two hard-fought heat wins. The Floridian bested fellow goofy-footer Travis Logie (ZAF), 34, in Round 3 before taking his Round 4 heat over Gold Coast stablemates Josh Kerr (AUS), 29, and two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 31.
"It was a scrappy heat between all of us," Hobgood said. "Kelly (Slater) had three 10 point waves and two he didn't come out of. Then in our heat, it was another one of those heats where it was hard to get scores. This reef is tricky and I've been making it out of those tricky heats. If I can keep making it out and keep going, I'm stoked."
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, current ASP World No. 1, got the best of a hard-fought heat against barrel-riding standout Jeremy Flores (FRA), 24, that saw a series of excellent exchanges. Flores took off on a last second wave in need of a score, but with Smith holding priority, the South African shut down Flores' chances of exiting the barrel, solidifying his Quarterfinals position.
â€œThat was an important heat for me," Smith said. "Any 'CT heat is important, but getting through Round 5 is especially important to make it to the Quarters. It's too bad because Jeremy (Flores) is a good friend of mine and you hate to be that guy. I shouldn't have gone on that wave at the end. I'm stoked though, I've never made it through to the Quarters in the South Pacific leg.â€
Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, roared to life in the final heat of the day, posting back-to-back excellent rides to eliminate Kolohe Andino. Fanning earned a 9.83 and 9.70 for his amazing pair of backhand tubes, taking the day's high heat-total of 19.53 out of 20 and a spot in the Quarterfinals.
"I had that slow heat earlier today and that was pretty much the opposite," Fanning said. "Awesome to finally get some good barrels at Cloudbreak and I'm happy to be through to the Quarters. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am local time for a possible finish to Volcom Fiji Pro competition.