April 16, 2011 – Thurso, Scotland – Eight surfers today moved one step closer to being able to hang the Highland Sword on their mantlepiece and acquire the title of ‘Lord’ as the quarterfinalists were decided at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland.
Among them were two New Zealanders who have stood out throughout this competition so far; Jay Quinn and Richard Christie.
Jay started his heat against Yujiro Tsuji in a determined and impressive fashion and continued to dominate the rest of his heat.
“At the beginning of my heat it just pulsed,” said Jay. “I started with a score of 6 and kept building and building and the waves just kept coming. It was one of those heats where things just go right,” he said.
Fellow countryman Richard had a more closely contested final against Frenchman Romain Cloitre. “I didn’t even know if I got through in the end,” said Richard.
“But it’s so good to have two Kiwis through to the quarters,” he said. “Jay had the best heat. I was stoked to stay in the comp with him. Now the goal is to have me and Jay in the final – that would be the ultimate.”
But the two Kiwi boys are facing some stiff competition in the way of the French here in Scotland.
Joan Duru, pulled out the second highest wave score of the competition with a 9.8 in his heat against Tim Boal.
“When I paddled into that wave I thought for sure there was no barrel, I was going to do some turns,” said Joan. “When I got on the wave I saw it was really fast so I knew there was nothing to do so I just pulled in.”
Joining him the quarterfinals for another possible one-nation final is fellow Frenchman, Vincent Duvignac who knocked out Kevin Sullivan in their Round 4 match up.
Alain Riou, Hodei Collazo, Leonardo Neves and Brent Dorrington make up the final eight competitors in the quarterfinals.
In what is becoming one of the most classic years of this competition ever, the town of Thurso on the northernmost coast of Scotland awoke once again to clean head high waves and epic conditions at Thurso East. And things are looking the same for tomorrow.
“I can’t wait for the early start tomorrow,” said Richard Christie. “Mornings are so good out here its so fun to be out there in good waves.”
The next call will be April 17 at 7am for the quarterfinals
Photo: Sergio Villalba