Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Island paradise matches blue-green waters with white sand and thick foliage.
The water around the island is shallow and completely translucent. It's almost like looking at a reef through a glass case.
Fijian gondola drivers have a busy couple weeks ahead of them.
The closest airport is Nadi, Fiji. From there you take a dreamlike boat ride to the island of Tavarua.
Stepping off the boat and onto the soft beach of Tavarua.
Fiji is one of the most looked-forward to stops on the World Championship Tour.
Native islanders sport a carefree attitude, typical of an island paradise.
Tavarua Resort is a series of beachside bungalows.
Athlete's fuel up at one of the island restaurant's monster buffets.
John Roseman, who rides goofy-footed, cofounded the Tavarua Island Resort. He welcomes surfers to his little island paradise as the opening ceremony gets under way.
Opening ceremonies are complete with song, dance and grass skirts.
Fijian locals have a unique set of traditions. Locals use a mixture of pepper plants and special reeds to create Yaqona (known as Kava elsewhere in Micronesia), a central part of the opening ceremony.
Sipping the traditional entry into the opening ceremony.
The landmark of the Fiji surf community.
A rare calm moment to enjoy the fantastical scenery.
Perfect barrels await the upcoming chargers.
Even the world's best take their share of beatings while competing over the shallow Fijian reefs.
Besides it's nautical distance from land, Cloudbreak is so high and powerful it's near impossible to paddle through once you reach it. The only reasonable entry point is from behind the break.
Paddling out back into one of the most infamous breaks in the world.
Nat Young (USA) duckdives deep during a freesurf in last year's competition.
Cloudbreak carnage: The heavy-water deluge is powerful enough to break any size and model board.
A spectator event, a mile off shore.
Outside of competition there's plenty of opportunity to sit down and cool off at one of the resort bars.
Drinks always come with a little island cheer.
Awesome Adventures' Yasawa Flyer (also known as "Yellow Boat") is the most popular island hopper in Fiji, with stops at South Sea Island, Bounty Island, Beachcomber Island and Vomo.
Believe it or not, landsports exist thanks to the embedded resort.
Fiji boasts literally hundreds of miles of coral reef. Renowned globally for its radiance and its abundant marine life, the sights below the surface are as beautiful as the view from atop a surfboard.
Fishing on Tavarua
A different kind of award.
Even out of the water, it's always nice to look back.
Breathtaking views at all times of day and night.