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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Volcom Fiji Pro Early Heats: Slater's Late Arrival, Restaurants Firing, and John John's Perfect 10

By Andrew Sachs
The early rounds of the Volcom Fiji Pro have provided great waves and great surfing that we have come to expect from Tavarua.  The first two days of the competition were lay days, but those days were followed by 3 days of competition days.  The day 1 action took place 2 miles out to sea, at Cloudbreak, but the competition switched to Restaurants on day 3 when the swell jumped there, providing for ideal wave riding conditions.

Big news from surfing day 1 was the two guys missing from their round 1 heats: Kelly Slater and Joel Parkinson.  Kelly was hanging out in Florida, trying to be present for the birth of his brother's child and timing the forecast so as to get to Fiji before the contest started, if possible.  The timing didn't work out and Kelly missed his first heat, great news for Miguel Pupo, who won the heat.  A somewhat similar story played out for Joel Parkinson.  Expecting to be back before the competition was called on, Parko was out fishing with some of his mates and missed his first round heat; Heitor Alves capitalized to win the heat in Parko's absence.

The waves were unbelievable for Day 3 when the competition moved to Restaurants.  High scores were there for the taking in the water, and the judges had to tweak their scoring to make sure every barrel didn't earn a perfect 10 with the number of barrels, and rides with multiple barrels, being had by guys like Julian Wilson, Nat Young and John John Florence, among others.

John John Florence particularly, back in action after missing the last two events with an ankle injury, really stood out with his barrel riding, at home at Restaurants like he was back home on the North Shore.  In round 2, up against Bede Durbridge, John John scored a near perfect combo of 19.80, with a 9.80 followed by a perfect 10.  He had barrels on both waves, making it out from deep deep position, and smacking some huge turns for the cherry on top of those waves.  He's also one of three guys (with Taj Burrow and Jordy Smith) to have won round 3 heats, before the contest was called off for the day.  Check out his sequence, below.

Right now (11:15 am ET, Sunday) it's 3:15 am on Monday in Fiji.  The next call on the waves will be at 7:30am Fiji time, so we will know in about 4 hours whether the contest is back on today.  Be sure to check later for the live feed.