In 2006, Jessi Miley-Dyer was a rookie on the Women's World Championship Tour (WCT). She'd fought her way up the rankings and eventually got her big break: a Cloudbreak.
Miley-Dyer's first year in Fiji was the women's Tour's last. A military coup and, later on, a lack of sponsorship dollars, made the island paradise an impossibility for continued competition and left the men and women of professional surfing wanting of the pristine barrels of Cloudbreak and Restaurants.
So when the surfer-turned-Deputy Commissioner got the chance to remap the Tour for 2014, a shiny blue thumbtack stabbed the little island in the South Pacific where Miley-Dyer had competed eight years ago. As she wrote in a commentaryearlier this year, the stage has been set for a paradigm shift.
"When I was growing up, part of the allure of the CT was that we had these amazing waves and we would go to the best locations," Miley-Dyer said. "You got to surf waves like Cloudbreak because you had made it to that top tier. That's why I really wanted us to have a dream location like Fiji and a wave that would challenge the girls; so that the younger girls coming up would look at the WCT like we used to, as the absolute pinnacle of the sport."
So without much time to ensure a smooth transition from the beachbreaks at Rio to the reefbreaks at Tavarua, the women's WCT surfers head to Fiji and into a lefthand reef pass that will be the biggest change to the field of play any of them have experienced in their respective careers to date.