All Photos: Jimmicane
Here today, gone…today
Two days ago, there were 36 surfers thirsting for champagne at the 2014 Fiji Pro. And after today, there are only 4. It was a marathon day at Cloudbreak. 18 heats ran and 14 hopefuls booked early, unhappy flights home. It all buzzed by at a blurring speed — we’d almost forgotten about Joel Parkinson’s Round 3 win over Glenn Hall in the first heat of the morning by the time Kolohe Andino was roasting Adriano de Souza in the afternoon’s last Quarter. It was the kind of pace that would make Usain Bolt blush. Usain wasn’t there today, though. Word is he’ll show up for the finals. Because if one thing’s for sure, it’s that there will be quite a few empty bures on Tavarua and Namotu.
The biggest losers
Like we said, 18 heats sent 14 people home. It was a mass exodus, a big day to be a boardbag. Some guys deserved the door. Others didn’t. The others include…
Freddy Patacchia: Freddy P. almost out-goofyfooted Gabriel Medina in Round 3. But instead, he lost 15.63 to 15.10 heat that could have went either way. Fred’s still got the flame and it’ll be interesting to see what he sets on fire at J-Bay.
Kelly Slater: 2014 is many things, but it is not the year of Kelly Slater. Things just seem off for Kelly this year. After losing to Michel Bourez in the Quarters, the king now holds a pair of 3rds and a trio of 5ths in this 2014 season — nothing too royal about that. Although, colorless consistency did win a title for Mick last year…
Adriano de Souza: If you don’t like Adriano, stop. Just stop. The guy plays with more heart than anyone on tour and always keeps things interesting. He kept everyone glued in the heat of the day against Kolohe Andino, losing with a 17.07 score that would have won any other Quarterfinal heat. You keep on trucking, ADS.
John John Florence: John John vs Gabriel heats are the cat’s pajamas. They bring out the best in each other, like the perfect couple. Today, John John stuck airs (remember, we’re at Cloudbreak) in an attempt to beat Gabe. Only problem was that Gabriel tried airs too, and landed them, and has a greater desire to win. He often feeds into that desire…
No country for old men
At 28-years-old, Michel Bourez is the oldest 2014 Fiji Pro’s oldest semifinalist. How good does that feel? Between Michel, Nat Young, Kolohe Andino and Gabriel Medina, the semifinal’s average age clocks in at a lean 22.5. No Kelly, no Parko, no Mick, no Joel, no Ian Cairns — just a breeze of fresh air. Now let’s talk about who’s blowing in the wind…
Nat Young: Nat Young didn’t beat defending world champion Mick Fanning once today. He beat him twice. First in Round 4, then in the Quarters. Nat couldn’t look more comfortable on tour right now. He looks like he’s always expecting to win. Like any loss would be some sort of tragic mishap. And that’s what we call the mindset of a champion.
Michel Bourez: The Spartan was the best surfer in the event yesterday. Today, he didn’t reproduce that nothing-can-go-wrong heat, but he still looked sharp. Sharp enough to beat Filipe Toledo. Sharp enough to beat Kelly Slater. Sharp enough to set up a Semifinal clash with Nat Young, which shouldn’t be too big a deal. After all, it’s only a heat against once of your closest friends with the weight of world title contention bearing down on your shoulders for the first time in your career. Let’s see how Mich handles that, shall we?
Gabriel Medina: Remember after the first event of the year, when everyone was all horny about a possible Gabriel Medina world title? Well, he’s whispering in our ears again and is one event win away from lighting a few candles and blasting Barry White’s greatest hits. He beat John John twice today, convincingly so. But before you take your pants off, remember that he first needs to beat…
Kolohe Andino: Yesterday, we said that Kolohe Andino had an opportunity to make a statement against Julian Wilson in Round 3. And he did. Then he made a statement against Adriano de Souza and Taj Burrow in Round 4. Then he made another statement against Adriano in the Quarters, with the event’s best heat score of 18.36 points. So what else does the Rio Pro runner-up have to say? We’re all ears.
They say that tomorrow…\
They’ll try to run the 3 remaining heats before island fever settles in. But with an iffy swell forecast, it’s the ocean’s decision and not the ASP’s.