Yago Dora has been awarded the wildcard slot for the Outerknown Fiji Pro by way of his incredible performance at the Oi Rio Pro last week, eliminating World Champions John John Florence, Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning on his way to the Semifinals, before finally being stopped by his friend Adriano de Souza.
"He's the real deal," Mick Fanning said after the Rio event. Fanning, along with John John Florence and Gabriel Medina, fell victim to the young Brazilian. "He's a great surfer, and to take out as many World Champions as he did, that's not something to sneeze at. I think he has a bright future. It's exciting, I really like seeing the young guys come up and throw a cat amongst the pigeons."
Fiji will be a great test for Dora, as it's one of the premier waves on the Championship Tour. Cloubdreak can hold up to solid, 15- foot surf, and while we're a long way out from opening day on the men's side, the swell forecast for the early part of the men's event, which begins June 4, looks good.
Regardless of the conditions, competing in a quality reef break will be a great test for Dora, who at No. 3 on the Qualifying Series rankings, is looking to break through to the elite Tour ranks next year. Getting an early chance to test his repertoire in quality reef waves against the world's best is a huge opportunity.
"Qualifying for the CT is my dream and another chance to surf against my heroes in Fiji is unbelievable," said Dora. "I went to Fiji already this year to surf Cloudbreak. I didn't get it perfect, but I got an idea of what the waves can do. I can't wait for the event."
Dora will begin his Fiji run in Heat 5 of Round One, taking on current WSL No. 2 Jordy Smith and Kanoa Igarashi.
Outerknown Fiji Men's Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Jack Freestone (AUS), Tevta Gukilau (FJI)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), Stu Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS), Connor O'Leary (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 10: Caio Ibelli (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Mick Fanning (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 12: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
The waiting period for the men's Outerknown Fiji Pro begins June 4. The events will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL's Facebook page.