Large swell too early for the Volcom Fiji Pro
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An initial long-range pulse in the 4-6 foot range on Wednesday morning will be superseded by a secondary larger pulse overnight, peaking on Thursday the 30th either side of 10ft.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