On June 3, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour descended on the beautiful island of Tavarua, Fiji, for the 4th stop of this year’s dream tour. The hope of the team was to score some waves, run a contest, see some barrels, and crown a winner. What happened will go down in history as one of the most exciting and controversial days of surfing ever. On Friday, June 8, everyone on the island awoke to drenching rain and pumping surf. The swell forecasters had predicted a sizable swell to hit Fiji, but no one had any idea how enormous or how phenomenal it would be. By now, almost everyone has seen the photos, watched the videos, and heard the critics and supporters voice their opinions on the matter. The ASP decided to run two heats in massive Cloudbreak before an injured knee and shifting winds caused the promoters to cancel the contest for the day. After that, thanks to a building swell and shifting winds, the free surf of the year commenced. The contest was broadcast live around the world, due to the efforts of Volcom and Rebull TV. Then, the best big wave surfers from all parts of the globe showed why they get paid to travel around the world chasing swells and glory. Everyone out that day absolutely charged, pulled some unbelievable drops, and came shooting off barrels so big and perfect they looked fake.
A couple of Jack’s team riders were involved in both the contest and the free surf. Pat Gudauskas and John John Florence were among a handful of tour guys that paddled out during the free surf. Pat Gudauskas made an insane drop on a set wave and charged home heavy barrels. John John Florence, (our favorite to win the event) fresh off his win in Brazil, took a few massive waves on a board he borrowed from Pancho Sullivan and looked ridiculously comfortable in the huge surf. Dane Gudauskas was not in the contest but took part in the free surf and showed why he is one of the most underrated big wave surfers. His poise in the barrel and confidence in waves that would induce panic attacks in most of us was on display all day long.
The contest resumed the next day in flawless Restaurants and although the contest was a bit anticlimactic after the previous day, the barrel fest resumed with long barrels, multiple barrels, deep barrels, perfect barrels, round barrels, square barrels – pretty much any barrel imaginable. John John owned the day and displayed his ability to supernaturally ride the tube. He had one recovery on a barrel, to floater, to backslide, to barrel, that left everyone in a state of jealous disbelief. The next day, John John made it to the quarter finals where he was knocked out by the new world #1 champion, Mick Fanning. Kelly Slater went on to win it all, surfing pretty much perfectly in amazing Cloudbreak surf.
Big props for Jack’s team riders. This amazing team charged in the contest and during the free surf and made us all very proud to have them as part of the Jack’s family. Nice work boys!