After an eight-year break from hosting a Fiji event, on May 25th the WCT takes the tour back to Tavarua with a class of Top 17 female athletes that have never had the chance to compete at Cloudbreak and Restaurants. After surfing in Rio, the women bid ciao to the Brazilian beachbreak, and bula to Tavarua reef break, something that the ladies are not used to on tour.
There are so many surfers to keep your eyes on. We’ll see our goofy-footers find their niche in the lefthand tubes. We’ll see Carissa Moore try to out-surf her competition to get back on her winning streak. And of course we’ll be watching Sally Fitzgibbons, as she comes back with heat to win another WCT event.
The planets aligned for Fitz in Rio, so will she be the shining star in Fiji?
“I’m definitely riding on a high after the win the Brazil. I feel that my form was strong through the Australian leg, but a few things didn’t fall my way in some close heats,” Fitzgibbons says. “I had to just keep working away and moving forward and that’s when I had the win in Brazil. I’m really looking forward to coming out firing here at the Fiji Pro.
Cloudbreak breaks nearly a mile out from shore with beastly barrels that offer surfers the chance to carve in heavy waters. Restaurants breaks closer to the shore along the reef in front of the island’s restaurant (so you can guess where the name came from). Barrel proficiency will be key. Its left-hand tubes will favor goofy-footers like Alessa Quizon (HAW), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), and Paige Hareb (NZL). But Fitz has had some freesurfing experiences at the breaks that prepare her for the competition.
“I’ve had a few trips to Tavarua in the past couple of years, so I feel I have some knowledge of Cloudbreak and Restaurants. They are both very challenging waves and I think you can never spend too much time out there learning,” says Fitzgibbons. “I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge of structuring a heat at a wave like Cloudbreak. I feel it will be a completely different ball game in a heat and with the clock running.”
Sally and her fellow competitors have shown that they can take on the new challenge, which is part of the reason why the Tour had decided to bring Fiji back.
Jessi Miley-Dyer, WCT surfer of the last Fiji Pro of 2006, writes in her ASP commentary “To have the girls be surfing so well and to be so accomplished, it would only make sense we would have this kind of platform for them. They’re 100 percent capable of surfing waves like this and I think some people will be pleasantly surprised by how well they do.”
There is no question that these women are ready. The only question is who’s going to take the win. Will Fitz continue her winning ways?