Just one week after wrapping up competition at Teahupoo in Tahiti, the ASP Top 45 are eyeing promising surf forecasts in Fiji – it looks as if the fourth event on the 2008 ASP World Tour, the Globe Pro Fiji, could get underway the first day of waiting period on Sunday, May 25, 2008.
While the surfers will arrive on the idyllic islands of Tavarua and Namotu on Saturday, May 24, a traditional Fijian Welcome Ceremony and freesurfing will take center stage –official competition cannot commence before Sunday.
"I spoke to the Globe crew who are preparing everything for a likely Day 1 start in Fiji," Contest Director Steve Roberts said. "They tell me it is flat today but the weather is whipping up and there's clearly some serious activity in the Tasman Seas so everyone is excited about arriving into some great swell."
According to the official Globe Pro Fiji forecasters at Wavewatch.com, conditions are expected to be in the double overhead and higher range through the weekend.
"I don't want to get too excited just yet but apparently Jon Roseman and Dave Clarke are optimistic that Sunday could see Restaurants fire up," Roberts said. "The last time we surfed the Globe Pro at Restaurants was the Kelly Slater vs. C.J. Hobgood final in some of the best surf ever seen in an ASP event. Between Cloudbreak and Restaurants we're in for an amazing event in one of surfing's dream locations and with swell coming, well, let's get ready for a really special event!"
C.J.'s twin brother Damien Hobgood won the event in 2006, and after recovering from a recent shoulder injury of his own, is ready to defend his title next week. (NB: the Globe Pro Fiji was not held in 2007).
"I just started surfing and feels pretty good," Damien Hobgood said. "My shoulder gets stronger every day and I will be surfing for sure."
Hobgood was also the defending champion going into last week's competition in Tahiti, but he had to pull out of the event at the last minute when it was apparent his fractured shoulder had not healed completely.
"It was really hard not surfing Tahiti but I know it was the right decision if I wanted to be able to surf Fiji and the rest of the year," Damien Hobgood said.
A third of the way through the season, ASP rookie Dane Reynolds (USA) sits just inside the Top 10 as the highest rated tour newcomer of eight. Next in line and 11 spots below him sits South Africa's Jordy Smith.
"I guess it relieves a little pressure," Reynolds said. "It's early in the year though and doesn't really mean anything yet, I don't think. I'm happy to be there though."
Despite his rookie status, Reynolds has competed in ASP World Tour competition in Fiji before.
"I've never had much luck at Cloudbreak – I find it pretty tricky although I've never had it really good," Reynolds said. "I love Restaurants though. I actually won the trials out there in 2004."
Top 10 ASP World Tour Rated Surfers going into the Globe Pro Fiji:
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 2810 points
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 2340 points
3. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 2318 points
4. Andy Irons (HAW) 2196 points
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 1989 points
6. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 1932 points
7. Taj Burrow (AUS) 1886 points
8. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 1874 points
9. Kai Otton (AUS) 1800 points
10. Dane Reynolds (USA) 1742 points