Kolohe Andino – “I’ll take Restaurants!” June 6, Tavarua

SIF: Congratulations on winning your heat. You beat last year’s runner-up, Gabriel Medina. What was your strategy out there?

KA: The waves are bumpy and not barreling that much out. I tried to surf what came to me.  It was tough, but it was a really good result.  I didn’t surf it that good.

SIF: What advice do you have for people who want to surf Restaurants as good as you do?

KA: Well, watch out for the reef it’s definitely really shallow. And you have to go fast, down the line. If you are afraid of reef you may not want to come here. Cause its all reef breaks, but if you put that behind you, you can get some of the best waves of your life.

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SIF: What’s your favorite wave, Restaurants or Cloudbreak?

KA: For me Restaurants, because you can sit in the barrel for 30 seconds and you can’t do that at Cloudbreak. Restaurants is one of my favorite breaks in the world, seems to be the best. Also, Raggs Right in Indonesia, that’s a favorite.

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SIF: We don’t see many Americans like we do Australians here in Fiji, what can you say to them about the experience here in Fiji.

KA: You better get down here because it’s the best spot in the world.

Kelly - "I like Cloudbreak better" June 6, Tavarua

SIF: What’s it like to surf out there against Fijian royalty? (Aca Ravulo is the son of the Chief of Tavarua)

KS: Ha, ha! It’s cool. It’s great surfing with Aca. I mean we surf together all the time, but usually there’s no priority and he gets all the waves.

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SIF: Tell me about the situation out there what went down?

KS: Not much went down in fact. It was a slow first ten minutes. We could have had a restart in fact, but I got a 5.6 or something.  On the ski going back out, a really good set came in like 6 foot or something.  And he was paddling out. Two or three really good waves went through so and we missed them.  It was a funny heat. I had a few in the later half, nothing great. I just got the better of the picks at the end, that’s all.

SIF: You’ve won Fiji three times now, what is it going to take to win this time?

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KS: For everyone to get out of my way! Ha! We’ll see, you never know. You deal with Restaurants and Cloudbreak and high and low tides. There are some funny winds this week. I think we are going to be at Cloudbreak tomorrow or the next day.

SIF: Do you have any advice for the regular footers out there who want to surf Restaurants?

KS: Just go fast! And hold that rail.

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SIF: You were missing in Round 1, everything well back in Florida?

KS: Yeah, my brother’s baby hasn’t come but I had a feeling that we weren’t going to surf until yesterday or today, looking at the forecast. And suddenly it picked up surprising everyone.Of course it surprised Parko. I don’t think that he meant to miss that heat. I mean, he was here, and he missed his heat, so I don’t feel so bad.

SIF: Restaurants versus Cloudbreak, what’s your favorite?

KS: I think I like Cloudbreak better, there’s a little bit more juice and more variety. Here if you get too much interval, Restaurants gets too fast and chattery. And more often than not, the wind is a little funky on it. I think Cloudbreak offers you the best waves of your life and the best turns you could ever do, so overall, I think Cloudbreak is a more dynamic wave. At that same time, Restaurants is the most perfect wave on Earth. Most the people I talk to say Restaurants but I for one go for Cloudbreak.

Damien Hobgood advances Round 3! Beats Mick Fanning

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"Damien went to town!" Damien opens up with a huge tube and then seals it:17.47  See pre-comp interview with Damien Hobgood at surfinginfiji.tumblr.com.

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Maybe our mana rubbed off on him during the interview? Maybe it was the Vonu Beer he took generous advantage on the day of the opening ceremonies? Maybe its what he said to the Chief.

Check out FSA website at surfingfiji.com.fj for more details and background.

Joel Parkinson – “I just love fishing!” June 6, Tavarua

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SIF: How was the fishing the other day? (Joel was AWOL in Round 1. He was not able to get to his heat on time on account of a fishing trip he took in the morning)

JP: It was fun! I thought it was going to be flat, a great day to fish. But there turned out to be a few waves. I was a long way away and I found out an hour before I was to surf that the contest is on and at one point I realized I was not going to make the contest in time. I was just like, I will have to move on and win the next one!

SIF: How is Fiji’s fishing?

JP: Well great, but yeah, I just love fishing in general. 

SIF: Tell me about your heat.

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JP: It was unreal but I was bumming that I was surfing against Dusty. It’s always amazing to surf this contest with just one guy, but it was a bummer that it was Dusty. I’ve been training with Dusty, and hanging out with Dusty, so it would be great to see him have a break out year but, I didn’t want it be because I lost to him.  [Big wave rolls through] Beautiful, look at that!

SIF: What makes the Fiji special?

JP: To me, it just feels like a surf trip but with a contest involved!  It’s not a grind like some contests. It’s a pleasure to be here. Especially on a lay day!

SIF: Tell us which do you prefer, Cloudbreak or Restaurants?

JP: Cloudbreak.  It’s just my favorite wave in the world.  By far my favorite wave in the world. I have spent most of my life going frontside, but my favorite wave is on a backside.

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