Semifinalists were decided today at the Fiji Pro, stop No. 5 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), in three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) surf at Cloudbreak. An action packed day of competition saw the field narrowed to just four of the world’s best surfers as the event ran through Rounds 3, 4 and 5 and the Quarterfinals. Top seeds went down as Round 5 saw Taj Burrow and Joel Parkinson eliminated from the Fiji Pro and the Quarterfinals ended with Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater being eliminated from competition.
Nat Young (USA) took on reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) for the second time today in Quarterfinal 1. Young kept busy throughout, picking off some medium sized waves to take the lead while Fanning waited until the 18-minute mark before posting any scores. The Californian extended his lead and Fanning tried to fight back, but was unable to the find the waves he needed. Young moves ahead to the Semifinals where he will face Michel Bourez (PYF).
“The goal is to win the Final but you’ve to take it heat-by-heat,” said Nat Young. “I’m stoked that I get to surf on the final day tomorrow in the Semifinals and I hope the waves will be fun.”
"Disappointing to go down before the Semifinals, but Nat (Young) has been in really impressive form all event,” said Mick Fanning. “I’ll take a Quarterfinals, but am really going to need to put some wins on the board soon to put myself back in the race. Jeffreys Bay next and I'm traditionally pretty strong through the back half of the season. Going to head home and work on the knee a bit before heading to South Africa. Thank you Fiji for another special year."
Quarterfinal 2 saw one of the most anticipated heats of the day when 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) took on 2014 standout Michel Bourez (PYF). Bourez was the first to register a noteworthy score and back it up. Slater was left with low scores and swapped surfboards in the hopes of bridging the score gap. Last year's Fiji Pro winner and current ASP World No. 1 was unable to find the scores needed and was eliminated with a 5th place finish. Bourez becomes only the fifth person ever to beat Slater in a man-on-man heat at Cloudbreak.
“Before I came here I was thinking that just to get to the Quarterfinals would be great,” said Michel Bourez. “I thought Kelly (Slater) would win and when I knew that I was going to surf against him I was really excited. To have a chance to surf against the best guy out here is a chance for me. It’s good to make the Semifinal, but to make the Final is even better. To win the Final is the goal and I’ve got two more heats to go.”
John John Florence (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) faced off in inconsistent conditions at Cloudbreak in the third Quarterfinal. The Hawaiian, who previously dispatched Taj Burrow in Round 5, got on the board first, connecting a series of backhand turns. Medina waited nearly 10 minutes to find his first ride but the Brazilian soon found his rhythm, adding a 7.37 to leave Florence searching for a score that never came. Medina secures himself a Semifinals berth where he will face American Kolohe Andino.
“I felt good and John John (Florence) is always a tough guy to beat,” said Gabriel Medina. “We’ve already had some good battles with each other and he’s one of my favorite surfers, so that felt good. It’s always good to be up there at the top of the ratings and this was a good result but I’m focused on my surfing and having fun.”
In one of the highest scoring heats of the day American Kolohe Andino took on Brazilian Adriano de Souza and the pair battled for a place in the Semifinals. Andino kept busy through the heat, taking 11 waves to de Souza’s four. His hard work paid off and Andino posted two nine-point rides leaving the Brazilian in need of a near-perfect 9.86 for the win. Despite taking down Joel Parkinson (AUS) in Round 5 de Souza couldn’t catch Andino and leaves the competition in equal 5th place while the American moves on to the Semifinals.
“Today was for sure the best I’ve ever surfed since I’ve been on Tour,” saidKolohe Andino. “I felt really calm which is good for me and I’m stoked. I’m still improving and my board change has really helped. I’m just taking it heat by heat and really enjoying myself out there so we’ll see what happens. I’m stoked that Nat (Young) is still in the draw because he’s my best friend on Tour.”
Fiji Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.44
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 16.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.20
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 18.70 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.57
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.70 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.43
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.16 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.93
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.33 def. Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 9.43
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.60
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 16.17 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.03
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.63 def. Freddy Patacchia Jr (HAW) 15.10
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 18.63 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.56
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.07 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.60
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.24 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.74
Fiji Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 13.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.74, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.13
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.00, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.77, Owen Wright (HAW)13.07
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.20, John John Florence (HAW) 10.93, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 9.83
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.27, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.14, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.37
Fiji Pro Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.86
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.44 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.20
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 16.70 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.34
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.10
Fiji Pro Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Nat Young (USA) 14.27 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 7.50
Quarterfinal 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 8.90
Quarterfinal 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.20 def. John John Florence (HAW) 6.34
Quarterfinal 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 18.36 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.93
Fiji Pro Semifinal Match-ups:
Semifinal 1: Nat Young (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Semifinal 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)