Fiji has all the elements that make for an epic surfing contest, and the 2003 Quiksilver Pro Fiji did not disappoint. Here are six reasons to take a journey back to this epic event with this week's edition of The WSL Vault.
The Waves Were Big And Challenging
Cloudbreak looks idyllic - and it's without a doubt one of the best waves on the planet - but it's also shifty, hard to read and catches even some of most competent surfers off guard. In 2003, there was solid surf throughout the event, making for quite a show.
Andy Irons Was Ripping
The late, great Andy Irons was one of the most comfortable surfers in waves of consequence we've ever seen; he could surf big, shallow and powerful reefs as if they were a 2-foot shorebreak. It's hard to think of another surfer who has looked quite so comfortable on their backhand at Cloudbreak.
Andy won the event -- the first regular-footer to do it -- banking three perfect rides along the way. That year, he'd go on to win his second World Title.
So Was Cory Lopez
Cory Lopez -- another surfer very comfortable in big, heavy reef waves -- was shredding all event. He made it through to the Final, where he lost to his good friend, Andy Irons. This was his second-best result on the Championship Tour, after a win in 2001 at the Billabong Pro Teahupoo.
Kieren Perrow Was In His Element
This was an event with the waves needed to bring out the best in some of the chargers on the Championship Tour at the time, such as Kieren Perrow, who finished third. Throughout his time on Tour, KP -- who would eventually spend six years as the WSL Commissioner -- was a fearless tube rider, and put on one of his all-time performances in Fiji.
Because It's Fiji
We all need more Fiji in our lives. And this year, everything came together to deliver one of the best contests on record at Cloudbreak. Just see for yourself.