Kelly Slater won the Volcom Fiji Pro in Fiji yesterday, in 6-8ft perfect Cloudbreak.
But that’s not the half of it. The giant swell forecast all week arrived bang on time for the mid-rounds of the event on Friday. 15-20ft mega-bombs running down the reef like some otherworld mixture of Teahupoo, G-Land and a Wilbur Kookermayer cartoon.
After running two heats in the morning organizers put the even on hold thanks to a devil wind chopping up the faces. Eventually, they called it off. There was just no way they could send the tour guys out there when it was so big, but so dangerous.
No matter, the big-wave crew had turned up with their 10ft guns and Volcom left the webcast running while Greg Long, Mark Healey, Ramon Navarro and others paddled around looking for makeable nuggets.
Less than an hour after the decision was made to cancel, guess what? Mother Nature changed her mood. The wind cleaned up a little. The waves got even bigger by several degrees. And the big wave dudes, plus some of the ballsier world tour pros, had a truly historic session.
Some flack has flown about the decision to cancel instead of sending the tour guys out there, but Volcom insist they made the decision in full consultation with the surfers and safety teams, all of whom said it didn’t look doable. How were they to know it would clean up and become a session for the history books?
Doesn’t matter. It happened. Ramon Navarro got the wave of the day – or was it Reef MacIntosh, or John John Florence, or Mark Healey, Twiggy, Greg Long, or one of the other 30 or so out there giving it a once-in-a-lifetime dig?
And when the contest resumed at Restaurants the next day, even that looked pretty epic. Tack on a finals day back at very solid Cloudbreak in clean smooth barrels, with Kelly Slater beating the youngest guy on tour, Gabriel Medina, in the final – and the whole package is most certainly worth a watch.
No one’s done a complete event wrap-up edit yet, so meantime, here’s bunch of highlights, starting the epic Day 3 freesurf.