Peter Wilson describes "a media scrum in a tiny space bouncing around in the middle of the Pacific ocean"
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 June, 2017 - The rookie event of the season went down at Cloudbreak as the Outerknown Fiji Pro saw half of the event's final heats stacked with newcomers to the World Tour. Joan Duru, Conner O'Leary, Leo Fioravanti and Ian Gouveia made lasting impressions as the tour nears its midway point and everyone scrambles for a decent result.
As usual, veteran lenseman Peter "Joli" Wilson spent hours under the tropical sun getting tossed about and inhaling boat exhaust to get the shot. He filed this latest blog from the "rookie event of the year."
Bula from Fiji,
The OK Fiji Pro finished yesterday in the waves that we’d all been waiting to see. A clean south swell in the 6’-8’ range greeted everyone at first light which was fanned with light offshore trade winds for most of the day. The final eight guys were a real mix with four tour rookies, Joan Duru, Conner O’Leary, Leo Fiovaranti and Ian Gouveia.
There were also only two guys from the Top 10 on the rankings, Parko and Wilko, so right from the start you knew that the day was going to be different.
Shooting from a front row seat at events like this is always a rush. Our Namotu boat driver Ulai, the best in the business had us right in amongst it with waves peeling down the reef just metres away. The caddies are right next to you, the jet skis are buzzing around and in our case Wilko and his coach Micro Hall spent a good part of the day in our media boat.
It was bedlam when Wilko won and jumped back into our boat to be with Micro. Everyone wanted a part of him and wanted to capture the moment. It was a media scrum in a tiny space bouncing around in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Just keeping your balance staying upright was a challenge let alone trying to nail a shot. Fun times with Wilko celebrating his win only an arm’s length away.
The surfing during the comp was at a new level for Cloudbreak. People had been comparing Wilko and Connor to Occy and Luke Egan who both won here as goofy footers. I have to say after watching 1000’s of waves ridden at Cloudbreak guys like Wilko, Owen Wright, Michel Bourez and Connor who as he won heat after heat and his confidence grew, all attacked the wave in a different way. Their edge work, positioning and driving off the top were all done at incredible speed and they weren't afraid to loosen the fins. Amazing to watch and a pleasure to shoot.
Wilko’s win catapulted him to the top of the WCT rankings and back into the Yellow Leaders Jersey for the J-Bay event and pushed Connor O’Leary into the Top 10 and onto everyone’s radar.