Large swell too early for the Volcom Fiji Pro

Craig Brokensha picture
Craig Brokensha (Craig)
Swellnet Analysis

At last year's Volcom Fiji Pro a huge, clean swell hit Cloudbreak on Day 6 of the waiting period. Sets were breaking in the 20 foot range under light offshores creating mindlessly perfect conditions - everyone has seen the photos and videos! The contest got canned so the Top 34 stepped aside allowing the spotlight to fall on the world's best big wave surfers.

One of the reasons the contest was postponed was that the Top 34 didn't have the equipment to handle the conditions. It was reported that the largest board anyone had was a mere 6'8". It was also reported that the travelling pros wouldn't make the same mistake again.

Let's hope that's the case.

Current forecasts show a couple of large SSW groundswells due to strike Fiji at the end of this week. The peak of the swell will hit three days before the start of the Volcom Fiji Pro waiting period but the pros should all be in Fiji preparing for the contest and maybe giving their 8'0"s a solid workout.

After last year's swell there is a high level of anticipation with many filmers and photographers making their way to Fiji. So even if this swell doesn't break under the eye of the webcast there should be enough lenses pointed at it for the punters to get their kicks.

The swell will be created by an amplification of the Long Wave Trough which is currently intensifying across New Zealand. This will steer a series of vigorous polar frontal systems up from below Tasmania deep into the Tasman and then the Eastern Coral Sea toward Fiji.

An initial long-range pulse in the 4-6 foot range on Wednesday morning will be superseded by a secondary larger pulse overnight, peaking on Thursday the 30th either side of 10ft. Well short of last year's size but still nothing to be trifled with.

There'll be a steady drop in size expected from Thursday into the start of the Volcom Pro waiting period leaving small waves for Day 1 (which will probably be a lay day).

As for looking further ahead: There's nothing significant on the charts for the first half of the waiting period but the second half looks far more promising with another node of the Long Wave Trough moving in. We'll provide running updates on this in the comments below.//CRAIG BROKENSHA with STU NETTLE


smeeagain's picture
smeeagain's picture
smeeagain Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 6:49am

Well Craig, I thought it was you that answered my questions about the conditions at last years Fiji Pro on the giant day. Specifically when did the wind change and the waves come good. Your answer was 2:00pm!
A devil wind in 20' barrels is not good surf although if a photographer gets in the right position he can certainly make it look perfect.
There is no worse wind for surfing big waves and I can imagine that the conditions must have been very dangerous. The wind change made it approachable with acceptable risk. It was also quoted that it took about an hour to get everything ready to restart the contest. So am now led to believe that they should of started the contest at 3:00pm?
Given only 2 heats were run and Raoni Monterio busted his leg the right decision was made in the morning to stop the contest. Should it have taken a death to justify the decision?

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben Wednesday, 29 May 2013 at 10:02am

Not sure what you're implying, smeeagain. Last year's swell was a benchmark session (even if the window of favourable winds was limited to mid-late afternoon), and the fact that it happened during an ASP World Tour comp meant it's been discussed comprehensively ever since.

As such all of the pre-event talk for this year's Volcom Pro is based around 'what will happen if the Volcom Pro sees this kind of swell again at Cloudbreak'.. and with the swell charts lighting up a couple of days prior to the waiting period, I think it's fair that the comparisons are made.

Word on the street is that some of the pros are flying in early to catch the swell, however I suspect Cloudbreak may be too windy at the height of the swell (tomorrow).