STEAMER LANE, Santa Cruz/California (Thursday, November 1, 2012) – The O’Neill Coldwater Classic, stop No. 9 of 10 on the ASP WCT, kicked off competition on the opening day of the waiting period and saw several upsets unfold in shifting two-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at the iconic California pointbreak of Steamer Lane.
Nat Young (USA), 21, O’Neill Coldwater Classic trials winner, was responsible for the upset of the day, relegating reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, and ASP WCT Rookie Kolohe Andino (USA), 18, to Round 2 with his signature backhand attack at his local break.
“I just wanted to be able to enjoy that heat,” Young said. “It was a really special heat being able to surf against Kelly Slater. He’s been my idol since I started surfing and having him at my local spot and Kolohe (Andino), he’s one of my best friends, so I was just really excited. The waves weren’t really that great in the heat. I just got a couple of 6s and made it. I’m really happy, but I wish we could have had better waves.”
Dusty Payne (HAW), 23, current ASP WCT No. 33, contributed to today’s upsets, besting two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, and former Pipe Masters champion Kieren Perrow (AUS), 35, to advance directly through to Round 3.
“I have such a bad seed for this year and coming up against Mick (Fanning) and Kieren (Perrow) in my first heat, it’s not easy, so I’m happy to make it through that heat,” Payne said. “Those guys are two insane surfers. They’ve both been on tour for so long and I look up to those guys a lot. I just got lucky and got two of the best waves in that heat.”
Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 27, wasted little time in his Round 1 affair, striking first with an early score against current ASP WCT No. 4 John John Florence (HAW), 19, and Heitor Alves (BRA), 30. The talented natural-footer quickly backed up his ride and held on to the lead throughout the heat’s entirety despite the efforts of his opponents to advance directly through to Round 3.
“It was definitely tricky because the tide was coming in,” Gudauskas said. “I surfed out here yesterday in similar conditions. I tried to hug the rock and get the local vibe going and find something with a wall on it. It was a little tricky, but I’m stoked I made it.”
Gudauskas, current ASP WCT No. 33, has lost several close early-round bouts over the course of the season and his Round 1 win today marks a crucial step towards his requalification campaign for 2013.
“This win is huge,” Gudauskas said. “I think Round 2 is the battle zone and I think everyone wants to make it out of that one. Guys like John (Florence) and Adriano (de Souza) are so gnarly that you don’t want to come up against them in Round 2. I’m psyched. Hopefully I’ll come up against one of the top dogs in Round 3 and I can shake it up a little.”
Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, put together a series of powerful turns on two right-handers to take a hard-fought victory over Australian flyboy Josh Kerr (AUS), 28, and Raoni Monteiro (BRA), 30, securing his place directly to Round 3.
“It was a really tricky heat because of the seaweed,” Bourez said. “It’s hard to stay focused and not get stuck. When you get the right one you just have to forget about it and do the best you can. I’ve been traveling since I was 17, so I’m used to the cold water here and after San Francisco last year, I get used to it pretty quickly.”
While several top seeds were relegated to Round 2, current ASP WCT frontrunner Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, dominated his Round 1 affair from start to finish, amassing the day’s highest heat-total. Parkinson, a former O’Neill Cold Water Classic winner (2000), looked at home at the righthand pointbreak and unloaded an array of seamless carves to notch a 9 point ride on the way to his 16.83 out of 20 heat total.
“This is my first time back here since I won,” Parkinson said. “It’s a tricky wave, but when they come they’re really fun. It feels good to get that Round 1 heat win for sure, but those guys in the red jerseys that lost today, I think you’ll see most of them in Round 3.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, discovered a rare lefthander in his heat and took to the air, lofting a monster air-reverse to notch the day’s highest single-wave score of 9.43 out of 10. Medina, who finished runner-up at the last ASP WCT event in Portugal, is admittedly becoming more comfortable in the Steamer Lane lineup and hopes to put together another banner result at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic.
“That was a fun heat,” Medina said. “I was waiting for the air and that wave was a surprise. Last year I didn’t do well and I’m starting to love this place. It’s been fun. I’ve got here a week ago and have been trying a lot of boards. I’m sticking to the same board as Portugal though and hopefully I can get a good result. I’m feeling better after Portugal and I’m trying to focus on getting a result here.”
When competition resumes, up first will be Kelly Slater (USA), 40, up against Jason Collins (USA), 38, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Event officials will reconvene tomorrow for a 7:15am call for a possible restart to O’Neill Coldwater Classic competition.
Highlights from the O’Neill Coldwater Classic are available via www.oneill.com/cwc/
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 12.80, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.40, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.60
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.00, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.86, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.60
Heat 3: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.16, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.96, John John Florence (HAW) 7.00
Heat 4: Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.30, Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.94, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.93
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) 12.17, Kelly Slater (USA) 10.00, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.57
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.83, Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.40, Jason Collins (USA) 7.00
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.46, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.67, Brett Simpson (USA) 13.33
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.53, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.77, Adam Melling (AUS) 6.80
Heat 9: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 16.03, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.50, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.33
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.70, Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.56, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.40
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.27, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.93, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.37
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.10, Tiago Pires (PRT) 15.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.93
O’NEILL COLDWATER CLASSIC ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jason Collins (USA)
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 7: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 10: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)