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Fiji Pro will crown new winner

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, June 06, 2014

A NEW winner will be crowned in the Fiji Pro this weekend after defending champion and world number one Kelly Slater lost in the quarter-final yesterday.

The US surfer lost to Tahiti's Michel Bourez in the fifth leg of the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour at Cloudbreak in Tavarua.

Bourez made a better start and registered healthy points while defending champions Slater was left with low scores and swapped surfboards in the hopes of bridging the score gap.

He was unable to find the scores and was eliminated with a 5th place finish.

Bourez, who will take on American Nat Young in the semi-finals today, becomes only the fifth person ever to beat Slater in a man-on-man heat at Cloudbreak.

Young overcame three-time ASP world champion Mick Fanning of Australia after picking off some medium sized waves to tally his points to make the top four.

"Before I came here I was thinking that just to get to the quarter-finals would be great," Bourez told ASP. I thought Kelly (Slater) would win and when I knew that I was going to surf against him I was really excited. To have a chance to surf against the best guy out here is a chance for me.

"It's good to make the semi-final, but to make the final is even better. To win the final is the goal and I've got two more heats to go."

Slater said the changing conditions did not help him in the quarter-finals.

"I'm not sure what happened out there in that heat," said the 11-time ASP world champion. "It's disappointing in that I felt like I was in a good rhythm at this event, but that's surfing.

"Michel (Bourez) has been looking really solid all event and he already has two event wins this season. He's having a great year."

In the other quarters, American Kolohe Andino defeated Brazilian Adriano de Souza to face Gabriel Medina in the semis.

Brazil's Medina defeated last year's semi-finalist John John Florence of Hawaii in the third quarter-final.

"I felt good and John John (Florence) is always a tough guy to beat," Medina said.

"We've already had some good battles with each other and he's one of my favourite surfers, so that felt good.

"It's always good to be up there at the top of the ratings and this was a good result but I'm focused on my surfing and having fun."





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