TAVARUA, Fiji (Saturday, June 13, 2015) – Action at stop No. 5 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), the Fiji Pro, continued today with the world’s best surfers battling to avoid early elimination. Competition ran through the opening five heats of Round 2 at Cloudbreak before being called off in deteriorating conditions.
Jeep ratings leader Adriano de Souza (BRA) faced local wildcard Inia Nakalevu (FJI) in the opening heat of the day. Nakalevu got to work quickly while De Souza took his time, waiting for a more sizable set wave to post his first score, a 6.83. The world no. 1 went on to back it up with a 6.67 to take a commanding lead, leaving the Fijian in a combination situation and eliminating him in equal 25th place.
“After five minutes I realised that the wind was stronger and the conditions were changing so I came more to the inside,” De Souza said. “I’m happy to advance and I knew Inia (Nakalevu) had his chance to beat me. I’m stoked to be in Round 3 and keep moving. This is an amazing chance for me to show of my surfing out there and I think the waves are going to get bigger.”
Fellow Brazilian Filipe Toledo (BRA), current no. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard, will join De Souza in Round 3 after taking a narrow victory over the second Fijian wildcard Aca Ravulo (FJI) in Heat 2 to advance in the competition.
“It was really scarey because he (Ravulo) really knows the wave and has a lot of experience out here,” said Toledo. “Yesterday I was too excited and I kind of blew it but today I was more relaxed and I made it through.”
Josh Kerr (AUS) faced exciting wildcard Dane Reynolds (USA) in Heat 3 of Round 2. The pair traded mid-range scores until Reynolds delivered a heat high 8.17 to take the top spot and the heat win sending the Australian home in equal 25th place, his worst result since the Fiji Pro last year. The win sees Reynolds become the only wildcard to make it through Round 2.
“Yesterday I didn’t really feel like I surfed that bad but I just didn’t have so many opportunities,” Reynolds said. “I feel like I could’ve done better today but I felt good and I’m stoked to have another chance.”
11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) stamped his authority on Heat 4 against wildcard Jay Davies (AUS), delivering the performance of the day. The three-time Fiji Pro winner showed his dominance and experience at Cloudbreak, finding the biggest wave of the contest so far to earn a near-perfect 9.93 for a deep barrel and adding that to an excellent 8.77 already in his scoreline. Slater storms through to the next Round and Davies takes home a 25th-place finish.
“I’m trying to get a little bit of that Florida mojo back,” said Slater. “I was so focused on the chops that were two feet ahead of me on and that last wave was a tough one to get along with.”
A low-scoring affair unfolded between world no. 6 Owen Wright (AUS) and former CT surfer Artiz Aranburu (ESP). Aranburu held the advantage over the Australian through most of the heat until, with less than five minutes remaining Wright was able to find a 6.33 to steal the lead and secure his place in Round 3.
“Yesterday was a real bummer for me, but it was good because it made me really look at things,” Wright said. “Today was one of the most nerve wracking heats I’ve had in a long time. I love getting out of those Round 2 heats.”
Following the conclusion of Heat 5 the competition was put on hold and subsequently called off for the day after increased wind and inconsistent surf. Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. to reassess conditions and make the next call.
When competition recommences, up first will be Julian Wilson (AUS) against C.J. Hobgood (USA) in Heat 6 of Round 2.
Surfline, official forecasters for the WSL, are calling for:
Reinforcing medium size SW swell will show for Sunday morning. Then a larger/solid SSW swell will build in through Monday morning and peak in the afternoon, before easing Tuesday through mid week. Wind conditions generally look favorable for at least the mornings through the next few days.
Highlights from the Fiji Pro will be available via WorldSurfLeague.com.
The world’s best surfing is broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and on Globo TV in Brazil.
Fiji Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.50 def. Inia Nakalevu (FJI) 6.87
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.70 def. Aca Ravulo (FJI) 8.86
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.00 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.10
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.70 def. Jay Davies (AUS) 9.47
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 10.10 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 9.03
Upcoming Fiji Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (AUS) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)