FUEL TO THE FIRE
Inside the Fiji Launchpad profect designed to catapult our best young surf athletes onto the world stage
On our last day in Fiji we discover what we came for: a big long-period swell turning Cloudbreak into an arena fit for only the best.
Every 10-15-minutes the sets pour through and this one is the biggest so far. Caleb Cutmore takes off and immediately hunts for a barrel. The crowd and line-up of boats erupt in a cheer at seeing Cloudbreak reveal its true, merciless self and with Caleb, 15, locked inside. On the next wave Jonas Tawharu, 18, fades deep and slots up into a cavernous section. The cheers again. Then Elliott Brown, 17, takes off late, pulls in and takes a high line through another oversized roaring pit. The hoots and hollers are the last thing he’ll hear before it envelops him for an eternity until he finds the exit. “Soon after paddling out, I took off on a wave and got the longest, best barrel of my life,” recalls Elliott. “When I kicked out into the channel, all these Fijians on a longboat were hooting and cheering about my wave. It was one of my best moments in surfing ever.”