The good news is that Volcom Fiji Pro finally ran. After days of false alarms, Rounds 3, 4 and 5 took to the water in perfect six- to eight-foot waves at Cloudbreak. It was so good that Kelly Slater chalked up a perfect 10-point ride and later remarked, "Those are some of the best waves I've ever had in a contest." That's saying something.
And now for the bad news. Slater and John John Florence are on the same side of the draw, which means they can't meet in the final. Both have been the in-form surfers of the event, and as the quarterfinalists were decided, they're now one heat away from a classic old guard vs. young guard duel.
Earning a reputation for understatement, Florence explained, "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing. I've been going out having fun and I'm going to try and do the same thing in the next round."
Florence will have to face ratings leader Jordy Smith, who's on his way to posting his best result at Tavarua, in the first quarterfinal. "I've never made it through to the quarters in the South Pacific leg," said Smith.
Slater will be going up against Hawaiian upstart Sebastian Zietz, who's proving to be one of the most dangerous rookies on tour.
On the other side of the draw, CJ Hobgood kept his Cloudbreak rep in check, decimating Travis Logie in Round 3, then blowing past Josh Kerr and Mick Fanning in Round 4. He'll now face Kerr in the quarters, but should he advance into the final, we could be looking at an all-Florida final.
Rounding out the quarterfinal matchups, Fanning will be going up against Coolangatta mate Joel Parkinson. "It was awesome to finally get some good barrels at Cloudbreak and I'm happy to be through to the quarters," said Fanning. "I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.00 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.50
Heat 5: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.60 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.73
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.87 def. Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 11.03
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.66 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 5.67
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.67 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 7.87
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.76 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 6.13
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.00 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.00
Heat 11: Nat Young (USA) 15.67 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.93
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.20 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.40
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.43, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.43, Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.33
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.30, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.16, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.30
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.07, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.77
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.14, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.07, Nat Young (USA) 8.07
VOLCOM FIJI PRO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.50 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.43
Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.97 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.23
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.76 def. Nat Young (USA) 7.83
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 19.53 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.34
UPCOMING VOLCOM FIJI PRO QUARTERFINALS MATCHUPS:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
QF 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)