The Volcom Fiji Pro was… well, it was something else. As far as contests go, you really couldn’t ask for much more. Maybe just to be a goofy-footer. The world’s finest got a crack at one of the world’s finest lefts, and then Friday came, and most of them didn’t want a piece anymore or were undergunned or wanted a piece but the contest was called off or…whatever. So the big-wave calvary had at it — and they made us gasp. They made us cheer. That Friday took surfing to another level. The contest wrapped in epic Restaurants/Cloudbreak the following two days and, quite deservedly, you know who won. But who’re we kidding, surfing’s collective final was that Friday, and the man with the highest wave count that day was Kohl Christensen.
Here’s what he had to say:
We always have a choice to make. How we make it depends on the information we gather, what our peers may be doing, but ultimately, it comes down to ourselves. The crew that showed up to Fiji for the big swell showed up because they wanted to get the best barrels of their lives. Many of them did. Some were guys that missed last year’s opportunity and would rather step in front of a bus than have to see those ridiculous photos again. Ramon [Navarro] was one of them, so was Twiggy [Baker]. Both those guys traveled across the planet last minute to make it and it paid off. Fiji delivered and they got the waves of their lives. So did all of us. We got to feel it, breathe it, be there and witness some of the best paddle-in tube riding in the history of our sport. Reef [McIntosh], Ian [Walsh] and [Dave] Wassel muscled through cartoonsized dream waves backhand. [Mark] Healey and Nate [Fletcher] pumped big boards through sections that looked like impossible closeouts. Those guys are veterans, they’ve had a stab at it before and took that experience to the next level. And it was “next level.” But what’s next? Have we peaked? Is that it? Is that all the world’s gonna give? But there were a couple of waves that came through unridden. And those waves will be ridden. How? Shit, I don’t know. Ask Healey. But all I know is if you would have showed the world any one of these photos from that day four years ago, they would have told you to piss off. They would have told you, “there’s no frickin’ way he paddled that.” But he did.