It’s been a long time coming, but the world’s best surfers are back in contest rashies at the iconic Cloudbreak, and day one showed exactly why this wave has been missed.
The first day of the Volcom Fiji Pro waiting period saw solid 6-8 foot waves unloading down the famous reef, with some incredible barrels being made.
Twenty-five year old Sunshine Coast kid Mitch Coleborn won a wildcard into the event courtesy of his major sponsor and didn’t waste it, caused the upset of the day by beating reigning 11-time World Champio Kelly Slater. Although he won with a 9.27 and an 8.10 for some huge barrels, Coleborn has a rough start to the heat, gettting caught inside on the reef and wearing a bunch of waves on the head.
“The heat ended up good but the start was a nightmare,” Coleborn said, with classic understatement. “I got that one 9-something and it really turned the heat around for me. Once I pulled in, I knew it was going to happen and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face after I came out. I still needed a score though and bagged another solid one at the end. I guess I got a couple of waves between all of the beatings I took.”
Coleborn is often cited as one of the best surfers not on the World Tour, but has been battling injuries for the past few years. Volcom send team trips to Fiji every year so he knows the wave, and you’d have to think he’s a threat to go a lot further in the comp based on current form.
Other surfers who stood out in the first round were current world no. 1 Joel Parkinson. Parko is also a huge fan of Fiji and has been coming for years and it’d be great to see him go all the way.
Jordy Smith also scored a 9 for a crazy late drop and deep barrel which is well worth checking out on Volcom’s heats by demand.
“It was pretty hard out there at first and I’m stoked that I caught two quick ones,” Smith said. “On that one 9, it just opened up real perfect. I lucked into it on the way back out when the boys got stuck inside and it just held open and I came out and got a couple of turns in. I’m pumped, it’s my first time back to Cloudbreak since my rookie year and I couldn’t have had a better start. It felt fun out there and the waves are just pumping.”
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.67, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 7.67, Brett Simpson (USA) 3.67
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.33, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.86, Josh Kerr (AUS) 6.10
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.00, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.16, Taj Burrow (AUS) 4.17
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.60, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 7.10, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 2.93
Heat 5: Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 17.37, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.50, Kai Otton (AUS) 13.27
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.93, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.33, Isei Tokovu (FIJ) 2.23
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.87, Tiago Pires (PRT) 11.50, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10.26
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.66, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 4.90, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 2.00
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW) 15.37, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.73, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 6.33
Heat 10: Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.70, Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.70, Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.67
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.80, Travis Logie (ZAF) 7.50, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6.00
Heat 12: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.27, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.97, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.70
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 2 MATCHUPS
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Isei Tokovu (FIJ)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 9: Tiago Pires (PRT) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)