The 2017 DRUKU MEMORIAL OPEN surfing competition was held Saturday 25th February at Cloudbreak, Tavarua.
Cloudbreak is a world-class surf break, which attracts thousands of surfers from around the world. The Druku Memorial at Cloudbreak is one of the season opening events for the Fiji Surfing Association. Previously called the “King of Cloudbreak” this event pays respect to Ratu Sakiusa Nadruku Lalabalavu – known to most guests of Tavarua as Chief Druku, who died in 2016.
Along with prize money comes an invite into the 2017 Fiji Pro wildcard trial event for the Fiji Pro men’s world championship tour event to be hosted by Tavarua and Namotu in June.
In small clean conditions many of the quarter and semi finals came down to less than 1 point separating first and second. Jimmy Tuitavuki just fell short against the experience of Aca Raculo. A close result between Inia Nakalevu and Lesi Navuwai saw some excellent rides but in the finish Lesi claimed the quarterfinal. Two of Fiji’s statesman Isei Tokovou and Ulai Niunitoga faced off in an exciting quarter final with Isei just doing enough to prevail over Ulai. Then in the quarter final – the new guard for Fiji surfing Tevita Gukilau and Che Slatter, was a demonstration of progressive surfing with Tevita taking the win.
The first semi final was a contest between Aca Raculo and Lesi Navuwai. A highly entertaining dual of powerful backhand surfing, which saw Lesi, take the win by less than 1 point. The second semi pitted the experienced Isei Tokovou against the young gun Tevita Gukilau. The level of surfing was lifted again as both surfers nailed high scoring rides but in another close result Tevita claimed the win.
So to the final between Lesi Navuwai and Tevita Gukilau. Tevita started the final heat of the day strongly posting two high scoring waves off the bat leaving Lesi to play catch up. In the search for better waves Lesi paddled deeper inside while Tevita was happy sitting slightly wider. In the end Lesi was unable to make up the points difference, which mean Tevita Gukilau claimed the win and the $1,000 prizemoney.
Invitations will now be sent to those surfers who have qualified for the Fiji Pro wildcard trials in May.
Our thanks go to Hurley and Tavarua Resort for their fantastic support!
1. Tevita Gukilau
2. Lesi Navuwai
3. Aca Raculo
3. Isei Tokovou
5. Inia Nakalevu
5. Che Slatter
5. Ulai Niunitoga
5. Jimmy Tuitavuki
9. Uri Kurop
9. Seva Navuwai
9. Kalani Wakeham
9. John Vasea
Winners of the Druku 2017 – Tevita Gukilau and Lesi Navuwai on the right with a young fan