2014 Fiji Pro Highlights
Gabriel didn't have to spin to win the Fiji Pro, but he did. Putting in one of the most dominating performances of the year, he aced California's Nat Young in a one-sided final, and a result now sits atop the ASP World Tour rankings.
Finishing runner-up to Medina, Young climbs to sixth in the world after the Fiji Pro. He's surfed in three finals in his brief career, but a win remains illusive.
There's a bit of a rivalry between the surfers that stay on the island resort of Tavarua and those that say across the channel at Namotu. Medina was staying on Namotu, and thanks to the resort's staff, he had a local cheering section.
Final over, second victory of the year in the books, time to celebrate. (Hope he pointed those toes.)
Hoping to win his third contest of the year, Michel Bourez's run was brought to a halt after Young took him down in the semifinals. For a moment he climbed to first in the ASP ratings, but settled down to second after Medina's win.
Kolohe Andino couldn't find a rhythm in his semifinal against Medina, but comes away from the Fiji Pro with a very respectable third place result. Moving up the ASP rankings, he's now sitting in the Top 10 for the first time in his career.
Going into the 2014 Fiji Pro, Michel Bourez had never won a heat at Tavarua. What a difference a few days makes.
Kelly Slater doesn't lose many heats at Cloudbreak, but when he does he doesn't take it well. While still in the world title race, his bid for a record 12th title is getting a lot tougher.
For a kid who grew up surfing Lowers in San Clemente, California, reef passes don't come easy, but over the years Kolohe Andino's made a point of putting the practice time in. It's paying off. Results in Fiji and Brazil have him rocketing up the ASP ratings.
John John Florence and Gabriel Medina
The quarterfinal shootout between John John Florence and Gabriel Medina provided plenty of fireworks, but it was Medina who got the best of the high-flying Hawaiian and advanced on.
After Michel Bourez and Nat Young learned they'd square off against each other in the semis all they could do was smile and laugh. Good friends, they've been roommates in Fiji, but somehow they had to find the space to get into their respective zones. Good sportsmanship rules.
The Judges' Quarters
Some people have better views from their office window than others. The ASP judges have it pretty good.
Traditionally, there's little room for the air game at Cloudbreak. Deep tubes and power carves are usually what wins heats. But then Medina sees things a little differently. The constant innovator, his lofty approach was well received by the judges.
While Bourez has had Slater's number this year, he's still only one of tour people currently on tour to beat the 11-time world champ in Fiji.
Given how many waves he caught in the quarterfinals, Andino was forced to hit the eject button on a few of them.
Michel Bourez finds a quiet place to focus himself before his quarterfinal against Slater. The combination of a healthy mindset and an abundance of talent are making Bourez one of the most dangerous surfers on tour right now.
John John Florence
Win or lose, Florence has one of the most refined tube acts in the game.
With a well thought out game plan before each heat, Medina exercised his strategy with brutal efficiency.
On the comeback road after struggling with a back injury last year, Owen Wright's performance in Fiji caused people to take notice. He could be dangerous during the second half of the season.
Not holding anything back, Filipe Toledo's approach is go big or go home. He was on quite a roll until Bourez beat him in Round 5 and sent him packing.
Adriano De Souza
The odds of Andino beating Adriano De Souza in their quarterfinal were not in the young Californian's favor, especially given that De Souza had appeared to be on his game throughout the event, but upsets happen -- and they're great when they do.
In yet another indicator that there is a changing of the guard happening on tour, everything was going according to plan for Taj Burrow until he met John John Florence in Round 5, where the young Hawaiian made short work of the Australian.
Medina threading the needle en route to victory at the Fiji Pro.