Kelly Slater has again shown why he remains the undisputed king of surfing with his recent victory at the Volcom Fiji Pro over Gabriel Medina. The event was also a raging success for the FCS Global Team riders who filled all four semi final berths.
In fact, 6 of the final eight surfers competing in the Volcom Fiji Pro were FCS team riders, giving further weight to the superior performance of the Genuine FCS system and the fins. In an event where surfers were challenged by waves from 4 to twenty feet, adaptability of equipment would play a crucial role for the finalists.
Mick Fanning looked polished form his fist heat and was favoured to make the final until his wave starved semi final clash against Gabriel Medina. During the event Mick was active with his choice of fins, switching between his blue signature MF-1 PC fin and his lucky white set of original MF-1 PC prototypes from Bells. The MF-1 was the go-to fin when the event was at Restaurants and when Cloudbreak was less than 6 feet. However as the swell increased and Mick changed to his step-up board he opted for prototypes of his new signature MF-2 PC, which is essentially a smaller version of the MF-1. Release dates for the new MF-2 PC will be announced soon
“Having the two different size fins turned out to be beneficial for the Fiji event for sure. We were hit with so much swell, and my board size changed from heat to heat, so for me it was important to chose the right fin for the job”.
Long time FCS team rider C.J Hobgood returned to form in Fiji, and it comes as no surprise that Ceej was riding his signature GOODS-1fin during the event. Unlike many of his World Tour competitors CJ prefers to stick with one reliable fin template and simply change the size of his board depending on the size of the waves.
“I’m all about getting that consistent feel across my quiver, and the GOODS-1 is a really consistent fin that performs in a wide range of conditions. I know my boards work with that fin and that leaves me to concentrate on the waves and my performance”.
Gabriel Medina silenced the critics by proving he’s equally as good in solid hollow point waves as he is in beach breaks. Finishing 2nd place to Kelly, Gabriel changed from his preferred PC-5 fin to Julian Wilson’s signature fin, the JW-1. Gabriel reportedly changed fins to take advantage of the smaller centre fin on this set which suited his longer boards as they typically have a narrower tail compared to his regular shortboards.
“It was important to mix barrels rides and turns on the final day. The JW-1kept my step-up boards nice and loose off the top, yet maintained control in the barrel. I snapped a few boards on the final day so I had to keep switching my fins”.
Kelly’s commitment to riding quads proved to give him a winning edge in Fiji. In what some of his peers are calling a career best performance, Kelly’s positioning in the barrel, his unmatched speed on the long walls of Cloudbreak, and his ferocious backhand attached resulted in multiple 10 point rides during the course of the event.
Kelly’s preferred fin combination for the Volcom Fiji Pro was his signature FCS K2.1 quad set with modified rear fins. The K2.1 quad rear fin typically comes in Performance Core construction and features an 80/20 foil. This time around Kelly made some subtle changes prior to the event, opting for the same template with a 50/50 foil in a significantly stiffer Performance Glass construction.
“Cloudbreak is typically a fast, down the line wave so having the 50/50 foil on the rear fins gave me a little more directional control at high speeds. Having that extra surface area is also great for riding deeper in the barrel”
Following the Volcom Fiji Pro FCS team riders Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater occupy the top two positions on the ASP World Championship Tour Rankings. At last count 40 ASP World Titles had been won by surfers riding the FCS.