Endless Barrels on Day 2 of O'Neill Cold Water Classic South Africa
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - With an epic storm fast approaching, the surfers indulged in the clean, fast, heavy waves of this second day of competition at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic South Africa.
Back at Misty Cliffs, with a cleaner but similar size swell to yesterday, it was the 16-year-old Hawaiian surfer John John Florence who had the crowds gathered on the cliffs above cheering loudly as he got a barrel on almost every wave he took off on.
His final ride, as he tucked into his last barrel of the day, earned him the highest wave score of the competition so far – a 9.6.
“It was good out there today,” Florence said. “I was battling against Hedgy and saw this big wave come in at the end and just went for it.”
It was the final two waves of John John that nudged former ASP World Tour surfer Nathan Hedge out of this third leg of the O’Neill Cold Water Series as the event moved into the Round of 64.
“I don’t usually like when it is that close,” said John John on his battle with Nathan. “I usually get really nervous, but today it worked out okay.”
Nathan’s surprise exit as he battles through a back injury opens up the CWC Series ranking list and the chance of the $50,000 prize money that little bit more, as the Australian surfer had been sitting in fourth position following Tasmania and Scotland.
Another surprise from today’s competition was the departure of South African surf champion, Sean Holmes, who was knocked out by the local talent of Josh Salie.
“I was very excited to get through,” Salie said. “It was in the last few seconds that I managed to get that wave. I had my friends and family on the beach cheering me on. They were actually making me nervous today.”
“I think knowing the way the Cape waters work gives you a bit of an advantage,” he said. “But I surf up the coast a little bit at Long Beach, so I didn’t have much of a local advantage for this specific break.”
It was a result Josh had been hoping for – but not necessarily expecting. “I was supposed to go to Port Elizabeth this afternoon for the South African University Championships,” he said. “Hopefully if I go good again tomorrow I will have to postpone it again.”
In the latest weather update from local surf foreer, Spike, it looks like the surfers gathered here in Cape Town will be seeing the best of the wildest competition in professional surfing over the next few days, as the storm and swell show no signs of letting off.
“We’re still headed for a meaty two days Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Spike. “It’s going to be powerful, heaving, and broken. Scary stuff.”
Now on a roll, John John Florence, used to the power and size of his home turf – the North Shore of Hawaii – is looking forward to the surf, which is fore at 20-30 foot at 14 second intervals, but not necessarily all that comes with it.
“It would be great to see the swell like that,” said John John. “But it is also going to be really cold.”