Parko shines at Cloudbreak
CLOUDBREAK Fiji has more than lived up to its reputation for event number four of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Volcom Fiji Pro this week.
Pumping waves lined up on the outside reef break of the Tavarua Island for the top 36 surfers in the opening rounds doing battle in the bowling lefthanders that are forecast to hit the 12-15ft mark by Friday.
The solid eight-foot south-west, south-south-west swell on Sunday for the opening round was the best surf seen so far on the 2012 ASP World Tour and while Monday had dropped only slightly, the waves are expected to double by the end of the week for a super exciting finale.
A modest, new bump of south-west swell will then move in on Thursday with a much larger, long period southwest swell will fill in and peak on Friday the eighth (potential to see very long period forerunners as early as Thursday late afternoon and evening), from a storm that will move through the Southern Ocean and toward New Zealand over the next couple days.
If the storm behaves as currently forecast, faces will be in the 15-20-25ft-plus range at Cloudbreak and Friday is shaping up a serious day of surfing.
Even Kelly Slater who rode a 6ft board to win his round two heat against Fijian wildcard Isei Tokovu is calling for his bigger boards in the 7ft -8ft length saying, "Friday will be the big day!"
The 11-times World Champion who missed the previous event at Brazil due to a lacerated reef cut on his back heel has been practising all week at Cloudbreak breaking up to four boards in the process.
Coolangatta's Joel Parkinson who is leading the world title race from fellow Gold Coasters Mick Fanning and Josh Kerr was looking super relaxed in his opening round win.
"I'm enjoying everything and not thinking about coming here as the number one seed," Parko said.
"I've had some disappointments so I'm not really getting myself ready for anything."
Joel is 1,450 points in front of Mick who had a convincing opening round win after practising all week.
While Kersey who is only 50 points behind Fanning is battling a grade-two-tear ankle injury on his left foot.
A win nets 10,000 world title points and at this early stage the world title race is wide open from first to eighth.
Slater is in eighth place after withdrawing from Brazil.
As a former two-times winner at the Tavaura Cloudbreak and the inside reef known as Restaurants, Slater will be determined to post a big result and get back in the hunt for a 12th ASP World Title.
It's been four years since Tavarua was used as a venue for the ASP World Tour and its last winner was none other than Kelly Slater in 2008 who went on to capture his ninth world title.
Ratings leader Joel Parkinson is stoked that Tavarua is back on the ASP Tour saying, "For me Cloudbreak is the best left in the world." "Six-to-eight foot Cloudbreak when it's on The Ledge and proper, it's a better barrel… it's not as perfect as Deserts (Lombok, Indonesia) or not as thick as Teahupoo, (Tahiti) but you get the deepest, fastest tubes.
"You feel like you make barrels you never should and that's what makes it special."
And no doubt Parko will be amping for one of those big bowling left-hand barrels at Cloudbreak that is set to deliver the goods for day one!
Get ready to watch all the live action on www.aspworldtour.com or Fuel TV.