2016 Fiji ISA Worlds Opening Rounds Recap
The action at the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship kicked off on Sunday, with SUP surfing delivering a strong start to the week of competition.
The world's best SUP surfers took to the water to showcase their talent at legendary Cloudbreak–a shallow and powerful reef located in the open ocean off the Fijian island of Viti Levu.
Rounds 1 and 2 of the Men’s and Women’s Main Event went off in chest to head high surf, providing open faces and occasional barrels for the competitors to post solid scores.
In an explosive Men's Main Event Round 2 heat, France's Benoit Carpentier and USA's Giorgio Gomez scored the third and fourth highest heat totals of the day with 16.44 and 15.97 points, respectively. Carpentier and Gomez advanced to Round 3 of the Main Event, sending Puerto Rico's Omelv Garcia (5.9) and Spain's Oscar Ruiz (5.9) into the Repechage Rounds.
Mexico's Felipe Rodriguez also put on an excellent performance in his Round 2 heat, notching a heat total of 15.73 to take first place and advance to the next round.
"It feels amazing to represent my country out at Cloudbreak,” Rodriguez said. “It's my dream to be out here surfing with only a few guys. I am so happy to make it through the second round and advance in the competition.”
Topping off the day in the Men's Main Event, Hawaii's Mo Freitas earned the day's highest single wave total of 9.7, linking together solid cracks on a long, running left. Meanwhile, Tahiti's Poenaiki Raioha–the 2014 SUP Surfing Gold Medalist–earned the highest heat total of the day with 17.03.
In the Women’s rounds, USA's Izzi Gomez came out strong in the first heat and looked like a serious threat to repeat her 2015 Gold Medal performance. Gomez put together a heat total of 13.67, which was the second highest women's total of the day. Australia's Shakira Westdorp notched the highest women's heat total in Round 1 with 14.17 points, but fell to Repechage in Round 2.
Cook Island's Charlotte Piho found herself in a slow heat in Round 1 and was unable to find waves with scoring potential, resulting in her relegation to the Repechage Rounds. Despite a rough heat, Piho spoke about the development of surfing and SUP in the Cook Islands, which joined the ISA as the 99th member in 2016.
"To be the first athlete to represent the Cook Islands in an ISA World Championship is truly a huge honor,” Piho said. “I hope this encourages other Cook Islanders to represent our country at an international level.”
Regardless of the first day's results, nobody has been eliminated. All the athletes placing 1st and 2nd move on to the next round, while all athletes that placed 3rd and 4th moved on to the Repechage Rounds, where they will get a second chance to redeem themselves.
For a full list of results,
Tune into the live webcast November 12-20.