ELEVEN-time world champion Kelly Slater is fighting a bug going into the opening day of the Volcom Fiji Pro at Cloudbreak.
I am not feeling too good but I will see how things go overnight, Slater told The Sunday Times yesterday as Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum launched the fourth event of the 2012 ASP World Championship here last evening.
Tavarua Island Resort managing director Jon Roseman remains optimistic that the experienced Slater will come out good this morning as the first round of heats get underway in the championship that offers $US450,000 prizemoney ($F838,301).
He is feeling a little under the weather but still went out on the board today (yesterday). Kelly is a fighter and he wants to win this event.
Fijis wildcard entry Isei Tokovou was the centre of attraction at yesterdays colourful opening ceremony and he had his reasons for being all hyped up. Just by qualifying, Isei got himself $F8000, Mr Roseman revealed.
Tokovou was out and about with his surf board soon after the launch looking enthusiastic.
Its an honour really to be part of such a world-class field and I will give it my best shot, Tokovou said.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum was full of praise for the sponsors, hosts and the participants, saying they were all responsible for posting Fiji on the world map.
The event, featuring 32 participants from eight countries, will be web cast to millions of viewers throughout the world.
Today (yesterday) is a very important and significant day for us because all the surfers here, after the competition finishes, and may the best one win, you all become ambassadors for Fiji, Tavarua Island Resort, their wonderful staff and management, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
I think it is critical to be part of a partnership whenever these sort of events are held and I am sure you would appreciate that your surfing competition could not be held in places like Fiji if people did not know about Fiji.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum praised Tokovou saying he was hopeful more Fijians would take up the sport and someday make it big on the international circle.
Slater said Fijians were naturally very gifted and talented surfers.
They just need more regular competition with the best from around the world to keep getting better. They have enormous potential, Slater said.