The drama at the Fiji Pro soared in direct proportion to Cloudbreak's epic conditions as Quarterfinals were decided. The day unfolded with a historic, perfect heat; a series of incredible upsets; and multiple 10-point rides.
The biggest standout was Owen Wright (AUS), who made history with a perfect heat in which he scored 20.00 overall -- the most possible on the WSL scale. Known as the "Avatar" on Tour, when all 6'5" of him emerged with a spitting barrel, standing tall, fans in the channel knew what kind of score was coming. It was when he did it a second time in the same heat that it became historic. With two Perfect 10s, Wright moved into the Fiji Quarterfinals for the first time and posted the seventh perfect heat in Championship Tour (CT) history.
"I'm absolutely blown away by how good it is out there," Wright said. "I never thought I'd ever get 20 points in my life, but there's so much opportunity out there. It feels great to accomplish it. It just feels great to get those waves. There's no better feeling."
Fiji has already seen a perfect heat: Kelly Slater (USA) had one here in 2013. This year, however, the perfect performance would come an hour after the day's biggest upset, in which Tour rookie Italo Ferreira (BRA) took down Slater, who has won in Fiji four times. The astounding result relegated him to a ninth-place finish, his worst since Fiji returned to the elite Tour schedule in 2012. Slater, who delivered see-saw results throughout this year's event, failed to find a barrel that would allow him to exit cleanly. His repeated closeouts allowed Ferreira to maintain a steady lead with midrange scores.
Going into the event in Fiji, Ferreira and Slater had just 50 points between their standings on the Jeep Leaderboard, with both surfers outside the Top 10. Slater will can jump to No. 10 -- at least, for now -- but his elimination leaves him vulnerable to those who are still in contention for the event title.
Slater isn't the only giant to go down in Fiji; in fact the top four surfers on Tour have all been defeated: World No. 2 Filipe Toledo (BRA) was also eliminated today, to Adam Melling (AUS), as was World No. 3 Mick Fanning (AUS), to Kai Otton (AUS). World No. 4 Josh Kerr (AUS) and World No. 1 Adriano de Souza, meanwhile, both went down to Dane Reynolds. The toppling of all four, however, means that De Souza will stay at the top for now, no matter who wins in Fiji.
With the Quarterfinalists confirmed, the Tour's Top 10 will be getting a serious makeover. Along with the elimination of the top four from Fiji, an interference called on Bede Durbidge (AUS) in Round 3 halted his event run and pushing him out of the Top 10. John John Florence (HAW), who withdrew from Fiji due to injury, will see a number of surfers push him down the rankings before he returns.
The next day of competition is likely to be the last, with the swell predicted to peak in time for the Final. Watch LIVE here June 16 at 7:30 a.m. local time (June 15, 12:30 p.m. PT) or on the WSL app.