Kelly Slater puts on a historic performance en route to victory at the Fiji Pro
They say if you walk in like you own the place, then you’re halfway to where you’re going. Well, Kelly announced his arrival at Cloudbreak this morning by burning some hot laps on his jet ski through the lineup, shooting follow-footage of local surfer Aca Lalabalavu who was heavily piped at the time. Kelly dismounts and paddles straight out for his quarter against Seabass, and that’s when things really start to burn. John John, still dripping wet, catches Kelly’s first perfect 10 and comments, “I don’t know, but from here it kinda looked like a 20.” John John didn’t know how prophetic he was being, because it’s only a matter of minutes later that Kelly draws another wall of Pacific toward him. It’s bigger, foamier and throatier than the first, and tail of his 5’10” quad is doing it’s best to skip out from under him. CJ offers, “Man, that thing was a bull ride!”…and it was another 10. That’s your perfect heat, right there folks, the fifth in pro surfing and Kelly’s second. History made before 10am. The signs for the rest of the day are there early. When Kelly comes in and starts talking about the significance of the feat, he adds the caveat that, “Man, the way the waves are out there today, someone could go real close to getting another one.” And when he says someone, well, you probably know who he means.
Cloudbreak specialists shine as Fiji returns to form at the Volcom Pro
It’s just after 9 a.m. and Kelly is on the contest mother ship—the Bel’Mare—having just dispatched wildcard Mitch Coleborn. It took all of seven seconds for him to show what 20-odd years of surfing a place can do for you, sitting way up the point on The Ledge and taking one the length of the reef. It was the first wave ridden from up there all morning. From there it was the predictable python squeeze, just showing Mitch Coleborn enough daylight to keep him interested while always having the thing under control. It was textbook Round 3 Kelly. The fireworks would follow (again predictably) later in the day as the waves improved and the field narrowed and the finals approached.
Round 2 moves to Restaurants, where Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater make up for lost time
Parko made it back from fishing at 11p.m. the night before last. He trudged up the beach on Namotu, glad to be on terra firma, but knowing the repercussions were waiting with the dawn. They’d been out at sea for 22 hours. They’d caught one fish. He crawled straight into bed, and lying there next to him was his surfboard, an unridden 6’3” that had been pulled from his boardbag by Mick Fanning earlier in the night and covered in all sorts of unprintable graffiti and unflattering caricatures—Joel with a fishing rod, Joel in a boat, a disembodied nose just floating there. His stickers had been covered over with the logos of companies that sell fishing reels, fishing rods, fishing line. He should have slept like a baby that night, but he didn’t. Missing a heat for a spot of recreational fishing had the potential to make him a cult hero in bass and barramundi circles…but he was gonna look real silly amongst his surfing constituency if he lost his next heat and kissed his world title goodbye only halfway through the season.
Round 1 of the Fiji Pro was held at perfect Cloudbreak, with Slater and Parko nowhere to be found
Joel will not want to watch the highlights of today. What appeared on the forecast to be the least inspiring day of the next six, was one sent from the Gods. One after the other they marched in: long blue wormholes in the Pacific, backbreathing, drop-perfect. When the opening heat between Jordy, Fred, and Seabass found themselves staring at a magazine poster they’ve collectively had on their walls since kids, the signs were there it was going to be quite a day. In the channel, Kelly’s minder Stephen Bell crossed paths with Joel’s equivalent, Wes Berg. Belly asks, “Is Joel really fishing?” Wes replies, “Is Kelly really flying in tonight?” Both shake their heads and laugh, incredulous their boys are missing this for nephews and fish.
Sean Doherty's lay day notes from Fiji
John Florence island-hopped to Namotu yesterday to get his troublesome ankle seen to. He walked fine, seemed happy. After three months out, his return to the fray could not be better timed. The most technically gifted tuberider in the world matched against what many surfers regard as the most technical tube in the world…certainly so on your backhand.
Julian takes down Gabriel Medina in a controversial final heat
Julian takes down Gabriel Medina in a controversial final heat.
An early exit for Slater in Portugal changes the pace in the 2012 title race
An early exit for Slater in Portugal changes the pace in the 2012 title race.
Notes from a Portuguese sandbar after Day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro
Notes from a Portuguese sandbar after Day 1 of the Rip Curl Pro.
Mark Mathews on Fighting Fear
Mark Mathews on Fighting Fear.
A word from the Teahupoo champ and current World No. 1
A word from the Teahupoo champ and current World No. 1.