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Fijian Surfing Pro-Isei Tokovou-Qualifies For The Fiji Pro

By Shane Hussein Posted 27 May 2014

Laying claim to some of the planet’s most astonishing reef breaks, such as Cloudbreak and Restaurants, it comes as no surprise that Fiji has for decades attracted the world’s greatest pro surfers to its shores. In 2014, the pro-surfing community will again turn their attention to Tavarua Island and the upcoming Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Fiji Pro tournament, kicking off on Sunday 25th May for the women and Sunday 1st June for the men.

Hosting the crème-della-crème of the world’s surfing talent, including America’s Kelly Slater and Australia’s Taj Burrow, the Fiji Pro is a spectacular event that always delivers high drama and superb wave-riding. That said, while the big name surfers will certainly draw the crowds, we at Fiji Airways are most excited to see local Fijian pro-surfing hero, Isei Tokovou, on the circuit.

Isei Tokovou at Cloudbreak on the weekend. Source: aspworldtour.com

Coming from behind last week to qualify as this year’s ‘wildcard’ entry, Fiji’s own Tokovou will be making his third appearance at the Fiji Pro event after previously qualifying in 2004 and again in the 2012 World Championship –  where he was knocked out by World Number One, Kelly Slater.

This year though, the veteran Fijian surfer from Yasawa will be seeking support from the local fans to go further in the tournament than ever before.

“No Fijian has ever progressed to the third round and Isei has an equal chance as anybody to make it to the third round,” Fiji Surfing official, John Philip, told the Fiji Times. “Isei has competed in this event before and he knows what to expect.”

Indeed, Tokovou’s experience in previous Fiji Pro surfing tournaments could be his trump-card against the competition as Cloudbreak’s flawless yet challenging waves have a reputation of separating the men from the ‘grommets’. 

That said, taming the barrels at Cloudbreak will not be Tokovou’s only hurdle. Indeed, the bigger challenge will overcoming last year’s Volcom Fiji Pro winner, Kelly Slater, in the first round. According to former pro surfer, Ross Williams, the World Number One is the favourite to take out the 2014 Fiji Pro tournament.

“Kelly basically owns this event,” Williams blogged on the ASP website. “Not choosing Kelly here is like not choosing the Lakers to beat the Clippers…”

Ah-hem! Well, someone should tell Williams that the Lakers lost to the Clippers in March, so an upset in the 2014 Fiji Pro is possible!

Could this be the year our local Fiji hero takes down the World Number One? We’d love to hear what you think on our Facebook page.

Surfing Cloudbreak – Tavarua, Fiji

With a reputation as being one of the most challenging waves in the world, Cloudbreak is not a surfing destination for the faint hearted.

Indeed, experts on Cloudbreak recommend that newcomers stick to the ‘point’ and ‘middle’ of the Fiji surf spot’s perfect left breaking barrels as the reef can become extremely shallow in parts. The ‘inside’ section of the wave, also known as ‘Shish Kabobs’, should be avoided due to the sharp rocks and needle-like coral that sit just below the shimmering turquoise surface.  

Getting There and Away

The best place to stay and enjoy the surfing action on the world-class waves is Tavarua Surf Resort.

If you are looking to join this year’s Fiji Pro spectacle and to cheer on your favourite surfer, Fiji Airways can get you to the reef with daily flights to Nadi from Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

After touching down, head out to Tavarua Island where you can see the waves break over the reef about a mile off-shore. Likewise, you can also stay on nearby Namotu Island. 

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