Aussie wildcard stuns Slater in Fiji

Australian Mitch Coleborn took full advantage of terrific conditions at the opening day of the Volcom Fiji Pro to upset reigning 11-times world champion Kelly Slater in the opening round.

Eurosport
Surfing - 5th annual Allianz Perfect Chapter powered by Quiksilver
.

View gallery

NAZARE, PORTUGAL - OCTOBER 31: Balaram Stack from USA wins the prize name "Ricardo dos Santos" in memory of the surfer killed last year in Brazil during the Surfing - 5th annual Allianz Perfect Chapter powered by Quiksilver on October 31, 2016 in Nazare, Portugal. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Surfing in six-to-eight foot (two-to-two-and-a-half metres) waves at Cloudbreak, wildcard Coleborn grabbed single-wave scores of 9.27 and 8.10 for the day’s highest heat total of 17.37 out of a possible 20 to best Slater and compatriot Kai Otton in the non-elimination round one clash.

“The heat ended up good but the start was a nightmare,” Coleborn said. “Then I got that one nine-something and it really turned the head around for me.

“I still needed a score though and bagged another solid one at the end. I guess I got a couple of waves between all of the beatings I took.

“Out there on the ledge there are chip shots and you’ve got to be right there under them. That last one was a dream come true. It’s a different thing coming here compared to other contests.

“You knew a swell was coming and it’s Fiji and you just can’t think a bad thought. I’m happy to be here.”

South African Jordy Smith opened the event with a nine-point score after a late drop into a deep backhand barrel, on his way to securing victory over Hawaii’s Fredrick Patacchia and Californian Brett Simpson.

“It was pretty hard out there at first and I’m stoked that I caught two quick ones,” the 24-year-old said.

“On that one nine, it just opened up real perfect. I lucked into it on the way back out when the boys got stuck inside and it just held open and I came out and got a couple of turns in.

“I’m pumped. It’s my first time back to Cloudbreak since my rookie year and I couldn’t have had a better start. It felt fun out there and the waves are just pumping.”

Current world number one Joel Parkinson put in a solid performance to join Coleborn in advancing directly to the third round, with a heat win over Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro and local Isei Tokovu.

“The second half of the heat was really good,” Parkinson said. “The start was washing through and I thought it was going to be a scrappy one but it really turned on.”

John John Florence also booked his place in the third round, recovering from flu in time to secure a come-from-behind win over Brazilian Miguel Pupo and Australian veteran Kieren Perrow.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so that everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Win cash in one day fantasy football contests. Join now!

    Learn how to play

    Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
    Premier League £1 Entry [Top Prize £30] 127/340 £1 £300 Today 3:00 PM Enter
    Premier League £5 Entry [Top Prize £50] 23/57 £5 £250 Today 3:00 PM Enter
    PL £1 Learn To Play [No Risk] 29/75 £1 £100 Today 3:00 PM Enter