- 15 June 2016 | Surfing
Cloudbreak delivered building six-to-eight foot (2 - 2.5 meter) waves, and John John Florence and Taj Burrow surfed the heat of the season.
When someone loses a heat with a total score of 18.60 points, it's easy to guess what happened. Taj Burrow, 38, rode the last wave of his 18-year career on the Championship Tour career, and Florence had to be his ultimate opponent. What a heat.
"That was one of the best heats of my life. Every time I got off the ski and got out the back, a crazy perfect wave would be there, and I'd be in the perfect spot. I could not have picked a better way to finish my last event ever," explained Burrow.
"This has been the best twelve days of my life, and everything fell into place so perfectly. I feel like I won the event and the world title. I am so happy. I have so many people to thank along the way - everyone who supported me on the road, my friends, fans, and family. Thank you to everyone around the world for all those years of supporting me."
Florence and Burrow had exciting exchanges and kept swapping the lead. On the last exchange, both surfers got barreled, but the Australian fell short by 0.16 points.
"That was one of the best heats of my life and to have it with Taj before he leaves the Tour is one of the coolest things ever. It is so special to surf against Taj with everything he has contributed to surfing. Since I was a little kid, I've been watching him do airs and watching him win events," added Florence.
Kelly Slater eliminated Jordy Smith from the 2016 Fiji Pro. The Floridian found the best tubes and walked aways with a comfortable lead over the South African.
"There's waves on the ledge, and then there are some wide ones, but you have to pick your poison. Everyone is seeing those good ones, and those are the ones you want, but you cannot guarantee there are going to be a couple of those during your heats on a day like today. I got psyched out on a few waves that I really wanted, but they didn't materialize into much. The good ones are out there," noted Slater.
The 2015 WSL world champion, Adriano de Souza is also through to Round 4. The Brazilian found his rhythm and secured the win with a solid display of tube riding in his second to last ride.
"I have been focused on the good waves and trying to improve my techniques. After this event, I am going to stay another week just to improve more and more. For me it is a big learning curve to catch Kelly (Slater) on those techniques - I'd need to live in Fiji for the next ten years - but I am doing the best that I can," revealed De Sousa
2016 Fiji Pro | Round 3 Results
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.50 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 4.33
Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.67 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 5.46
Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.20 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.50
Kelly Slater (USA) 16.56 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.66
Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 6.94 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 8.83
Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.27 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.00
Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.50 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.73
Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.26 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.20
Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.40 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 9.17
John John Florence (HAW) 18.76 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.60
Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.54 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.93
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.93 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.50
2016 Fiji Pro | Round 4 Matchups
Gabriel Medina (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Kelly Slater (USA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Jadson Andre (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Mick Fanning (AUS)
John John Florence (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)