SANTA CRUZ, California – The top seeds competing at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME O’Neill Cold Water Classic California took to the water in clean four-foot (1 metre) conditions at the famed California Pointbreak of Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz today and the premier surfers crushed the event’s highest scores while the local favorites fell early.
All surfers competing in the ASP 6-Star PRIME event are looking to capitalize on the crucial ratings points on offer at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic to solidify their spot on the 2010 ASP Dream Tour before heading to Hawaii.
Reyes, who suffered a horrific knee injury which nearly ended his career at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic in 2007, donned a singlet at Steamer Lane for the first time since the accident and absolutely dominated his heat, clinching the event’s highest heat total, a 17.83 out of 20, to lead the event’s top seeds into the Round of 48.
“This was my first heat back at Steamer Lane since the injury, so it’s nice to have a good heat back,” Reyes said. “I’ve been surfing here ever since the injury, I just hadn’t had time to compete here because I was going to Hawaii earlier. I got a couple of nice waves in that heat, they were glassy and easy to surf. Most of the time, the lane is a really challenging wave, but today was easy.”
Reyes is fresh off of a fifth place result at the ASP World Tour event in Portugal, which marked the best result of his season, and was able to sneak up to Santa Cruz to compete at the Premier event before heading to Hawaii to wrap up the season.
“With Portugal being the last event in Europe, I figured I might as well come and do this contest,” Reyes said. “It’s good to support my sponsors and it’s a really cool spot here and I’m stoked to be in the event again.”
After spending six weeks in contest mode between France and Portugal, Reyes’ competitive ss looked sharp as he dominated the Steamer Lane lineup today.
“I surfed a lot through Europe for six weeks and been around the events the whole time and it makes it easy to be in tune. I feel a little bit more in rhythm with being here at another spot close to home.”
Marcio Farney (Santa Catarina, BRA), 28, annihilated a clean Steamer Lane right breaking off of the cliff and relied on amazing rail-to-rail power surfing to claim the day’s highest single wave score of a near perfect 9.77 out of 10 en route to posting his heat victory.
“I was looking this morning at Steamer Lane and the ones that were breaking closest to the cliff looked the best,” Farney said. “I was able to put a lot of power into those first two turns and was able to get that score. That was the first wave I’ve ever caught out at Steamer Lane, so it’s funny that it was such a good one.”
Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI), 19, who finished third overall at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic last year, relied on a crisp variety of forehand tail drifts and powerful turns to eliminate local favorites Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 18, who was the defending O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion, and Noi Kaulukukui (Santa Cruz, CA), 28.
“It’s heavy that those guys didn’t advance,” Larsen said. “When I saw the draw and saw that I had Nat (Young) and Noi (Kaulukukui), they’re the locals here and Nathaniel (Curran) is on the World Tour, so I knew it was going to be a stacked heat.”
Larsen wasted no time in his bout against the local heavyweights, logging a solid eight-point-score in the opening minutes of his heat and held the lead throughout the 25-minute match to claim the win.
“I got lucky I got that one eight-point ride at the ning and was able to stay in the lead throughout the heat, but it’s hard luck for Nat (Young) he rips this place harder than anyone, he won the event last year when I got third, so I’m pretty stoked to have made that heat.”
Although the young Maui standout may spend most of his time in the warm waters of Hawaii, Larsen’s father is from Santa Cruz and the pair travel to the famed surf destination each year in time for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California.
“This is my favorite ‘QS to do of the year,” Larsen said. “My Dad grew up here and I love coming over here with him. It’s great to hang out with him here and it’s a lot of fun, plus the waves also are pretty good here.”
The battle for the additional prize purse for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic series is now between Adam Melling (Lennox Head, AUS), 24, and Jarrad Howse (AUS), 29, and both surfers will their campaigns when the Round of 96 resumes.
Running in conjunction with the O’Neill Cold Water Classic will be the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships, which could competition tomorrow.
O’Neill Cold Water Classic California Round of 96 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.34, Blake Wilson (AUS) 11.50, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.67, Luke Campbell (AUS) 6.57
Heat 2: David Richards (ZAF) 10.00, Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 9.70, Renato Galvao (BRA) 8.96, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 4.87
Heat 3: Kiron Jabour (HAW) 14.16, James Taipan Wood (AUS) 13.50, Tommy O’Brien (USA) 12.04, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 7.56
Heat 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.50, Joel Centeio (HAW) 13.93, Richard Christie (NZL) 12.67, Glen Hall (IRL) 7.50
Heat 5: Granger Larsen (HAW) 13.00, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.33, Noi Kaulukukui (USA) 9.77, Nat Young (USA) 9.27
Heat 6: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.90, Micah Byrne (USA) 10.03, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 9.93, Marco Giorgi (URY) 9.09
Heat 7: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 16.53, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.94, Ola Eleogram (HAW) 10.60, Casey Brown (HAW) 10.23
Heat 8: Marcio Farney (BRA) 16.50, Kyle Knox (USA) 15.47, Blake Thornton (AUS) 10.83, Charlie Brown (BRA) 6.53,
Heat 9: Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 13.37, Darrell Goodrum (USA) 11.77, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 11.73, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00
Heat 10: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.16, Jarrad Sullivan (AUS) 10.90, Luke Davis (USA) 10.23, Andrew Bennett (USA) 6.20
Heat 11: Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 15.07, Cory Lopez (USA) 12.04, Nick White (NZL) 11.96, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 9.17
Heat 12: Andre Silva (BRA) 13.47, Christophe Allary (REU) 12.33, Roy Powers (HAW) 11.07, Matt Pagan (USA) 10.07
Heat 13: Tim Reyes (USA) 17.83, Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 13.77, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 11.56, Hugo Savalli (REU) 9.96
Heat 14: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 16.00, Brian Toth (PRI) 13.50, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 11.17, Brett Barley (USA) 6.07
Heat 15: Heath Joske (AUS) 14.60, Jay Thompson (AUS) 14.33, Jason Collins (USA) 11.90, Parrish Byrne (AUS) 8.47