Kelly on his way to another CT win at the Volcom Fiji Pro, taking down White Lightning in pumping six-to-eight foot barrels at Cloudbreak.
Building momentum throughout the waiting period and clearly amping to the improving wave conditions, Kelly started to look very dangerous from Round 4 onwards. Add to that the fact that the 11-time champ had something to prove to his newborn nephew, whose birth he ended up missing because of the contest, and it’s no real surprise Kelly ended up putting on a couple of the best surf performances so far this year.
Now back at the top of the CT rankings, Kelly’s road to victory included a perfect 20-point heat against Sebastian Zeitz in the quarters, a victory over John John in the semis, culminating with a win over Fanning in the final that included a near-perfect heat score of 19.80.
“What a day,” Slater said. “That was insane. When we stared out in the final, Mick had position and I was a little deep, but the next one was unbelievable. I want to dedicate this to my brother and his wife and their new kid Van. He told me that if I missed the birth of his son, that I’d better win, so this is for you. I want to say hi to everyone at home. What can I say, what a day.”
As well as winning yet another CT event, Slater once again made history in his quarter-finals, collecting only the fourth perfect 20-point score on ASP record (and Kelly’s second). You’d do well to head straight over to Volcom’s Heats on Demand and check out Slater’s two cracking 10 point deep backhand tube rides.
“The waves are the stars today,” Slater said. “When they come, they’re unbelievable. I missed one in that heat that was insane. The second 10 that I got, Seabass (Sebastian Zietz) maybe could have got it, but he was a little deep. It just hit that inside and ran. It reminded me of the one yesterday that i didn’t come out of and I just though, ‘just keep going forward, don’t make the same mistake as yesterday.’ When waves are this good, I don’t discount it happening a few times in this event because the waves are there, you just have to stand up on them. Theoretically, I could have had three 10s yesterday, the waves were just that good. It’s a special thing if you can get a 10 in a heat, so I’m really stoked.”
Mick Fanning displayed incredible backhand barrel-riding skills at Cloudbreak, driving through deep tubes and unloading massive turns on his way to the final and yet it was another of those days when nobody could match the 11-time champ.
“I’m pretty stoked,” Fanning said. “I started off with the 9.2 and saw Kelly on the one behind it. When Kelly didn’t get a 10 on his first wave, I thought, ‘I’m still in this,’ but then he shut the door on the next one. Overall I’m happy. I didn’t really have a good start to this event and then at the end it came good.”
John John marked a great return to form following his ankle injury, notching two 10-point rides over the course of the event to finish equal 3rd.
“It would have been nice to go one round further and make the finals, but a third is a good result and we got sick waves throughout the event,” Florence said. “To get a third in my first event back since my injury is a good start and hopefully I can do well in Bali.”
VOLCOM FIJI PRO FINAL:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 19.80
2 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.87
VOLCOM FIJI PRO SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.17 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.00
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.07 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.70
VOLCOM FIJI PRO QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 19.06 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.67
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.10
QF 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.77 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 7.50
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.13 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.83