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News provided by ASP World Tour on 20 May 2006

Organisers of the Globe WCT Fiji are confident that the event, the fourth on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, will kick off within the next two days as solid swell is predicted to hit the area within the next 24 hours.

The Globe WCT Fiji has a waiting period extending until June 2 but it could spark into action immediately given that the forecast swell of two metres (six foot) plus will have the venue of Cloudbreak serving up amazing tubing waves.

“The forecast is extremely positive,” said Contest Director Steve Robinson. “Once the swell arrives, which should be by later today, we’re going to see Cloudbreak at its best. It’s going to be an excellent event.”

Cloudbreak is a freight training left to right breaking wave, renowned for its capacity to produce extremely long tube rides and with the increase in swell it should provide the competitors with an incredible canvas on which they can display their wares.

“Cloudbreak is simply awesome, this open ocean reef is a magnet to powerful winter swells marching north from the Tasman Sea, the place goes off the richter at eight feet plus,” said ASP President Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew.

“And Restaurants, which is the backup wave, is truly refined, perfectly peeling endlessly along the razor sharp reef that fringes Tavarua Island, testing tube riding skills to the max,” continued Bartholomew.

Damien Hobgood (USA) fresh off a stunning performance in Tahiti just a week ago where he exited the event at the hands of eventual winner Bobby Martinez (USA) is eager to make a return to the arena at which he won two years ago.

He was unable to surf last year due to injury but will make up for lost time when he tackles the break in his opening heat.

“I was really bummed to miss last year’s event due to injury,” said Hobgood. “Cloudbreak is just about the best left-hander in the world and when Restaurants is working, it’s just awesome.”

The coveted Globe WCT Fiji will be hotly contested by the top 45 competitors on surfing’s elite tour plus three wildcards, one of whom has been chosen through a trials event which was held in one to 1.5 metre (three to four feet) waves at Cloudbreak today.

The winner was in fact the son of the Tavarua Island Chief. He will be slotted into round one against seven-time Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour champion Kelly Slater (USA) and last year’s number six ranked Trent Munro (AUS).

The remaining two wildcards in the event include Nathan Webster (AUS) and Yadin Nichol (AUS).

The big question still to be answered however is whether Slater will recover from a rib cartilage injury in time to compete over the next few days.

Slater’s management released a statement three days ago claiming that he was undergoing medical treatment and will leave his decision to the very last minute.

As we go to press (4pm Fijian time), the 34-year-old Floridian is yet to arrive at the island of Tavarua but he also has not issued an official withdrawal from the event.

While there are doubts that Slater will be fit enough to compete, there are plenty of rumours suggesting the defending event champion will appear later this evening and will front for his heat.

If Slater withdraws a replacement from Australia will be flown in to take his place.


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