Fiji Pro Preview
The old guard is gone and this is their last hurrah. After two decades of Kelly, Mick, Joel, and Taj dominating professional surfing we have finally reached the end of their dominance. Out of the four, Joel sits highest on the rankings at 10 and he just tore his MCL in a warmup session. Kelly has moved on to his post competitive endeavors. Mick is only surfing a handful of events, and this is Taj’s last event before retirement. The tour will miss having them at the top. They bridged the gap between multiple generations and each of them brought something unique and exciting to the tour.
Kelly, Mick, and Taj will all be surfing in Fiji. However, it feels like they are there more for a vacation than points. Either way, get excited to watch them while you can.
Before we get into it, Owen Wright will be sorely missed at Fiji. We all hope he can recover and get back to doing this:
The waiting period kicks off with a decent size swell for the first couple days and then four days of (relative) flatness. Look for the second half of the waiting period to produce bigger surf.
Kelly Slater: Kelly is 35th on the rankings, two spots behind Mason Ho who has surfed in one event. While Kelly doesn’t seem concerned with winning world titles, I’m sure he would love to win Fiji. It’s one of his favorite waves in the world and he surfs it better than anyone in the world. Plus, Kelly is winless since 2013. He’s due.
Gabriel Medina: Medina got his world title hopes back on track with a semi-final finish in Brazil. He is very strong at Cloudbreak, able to combine barrel riding with critical turns in the pocket. Cloudbreak can favor goofy footers and with Owen Wright out, Medina is the best goofy footer in the field at Cloudbreak.
John John Florence: No it’s not too much of a stretch to say we like John John, Kelly, and Gabs at Cloudbreak. But, at the best waves in the world the best surfers usually rise to the top. John has taken the title of “best surfer in the world”, but he needs a world title to back it up. A big result here would put him in a great position to get that done.
Miguel Pupo: Miguel has been touted for his barrel riding ability since coming on tour. Indeed, he has bagged some memorable barrels. Still, the stylish goofy footer has come up short in terms of results. Hopefully this is the event Miguel strings together multiple heats and multiple great waves.
Julian Wilson: Julian low key kills it in backside barrels and he has the talent to win. He made the finals last year. If he does againt we could have a fun world title race on our hands.
The guys that can make me look really dumb!
Jordy Smith: Sorry Jordy. He has the tools to do well here but he just won’t. When I think of finals day, I just don’t see Jordy being part of it.
Michel Bourez: Michel has been disappointing for years in barreling lefts despite growing up in Tahiti. Michel is so easy to root for so I hope I am wrong!
It's a tough ask to top last year's event. Still, this is the best wave on tour. Enjoy the mind surfing!