Tasmania Serves Up Cold Conditions & Good Waves on Day 1 O'Neill Cold Water
MARRAWAH, Tasmania/Australia - Fresh out of the Australian summer season, many of the world's top surfer were delivered a coming-of-winter reality check as day 1 of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Rated O'Neill Cold Water Classic began on Tasmania's frontier north west coastline.
Full wetsuits along with hoods were pulled out as a strong and cold westerly wind delivered uneven 1m increasing surf in the slightly protected Nessle Bay.
Local surfer Ben Richardson (Tasmania/Scamander) obviously is fully acclimatised to these conditions and he surfed and won through three quick heats in succession.
Richardson opened the day by winning his heat and final of the trials, which saw eight Tasmanian surfers compete for two wild card positions into the main event.
Shortly after winning the trials final, Richardson was back in the water surfing his main event opening heat and maintained his excellent form to comfortably defeat highly rated Brazilian Jeronimo Vargas.
"I guess a lot of these surfers will still be getting used the water temperatures and the wind but I'm fine with it" said Richardson after his win.
"It's a great opportunity for me to surf against these guys, I'm not sure how far I can go in the event but I'll give it my best and really I'd be happy to make it through another round or two."
Richardson's score-line today proved that he'll be no easy-beat when he does surf his next round. He scored the mornings top scoring ride of a 7.5 out of a possible 10 along with the top scoring heat tally of 14.17 out of a possible 20.
Fellow Tasmanian Dustin Hollick (Hobart) also made it through the trials and into the main event but was bundled out in his opening heat defeated by talented Hawaiian pair Jon Jon Florence and Kai Barger.
With the strong cross-shore to on-shore winds aerial moves were suited and surfers like Jon Jon Florence (Hawaii) and Ricky Basnett (South Africa) took flight to spectacularly win through their opening rounds.
"It's been quite a while since I made it through a heat" said the flamboyant Basnett.
"I'll always go for the high risk moves and with today's winds those aerials worked well for me."
Australian surfers were prominent today with Jared Sullivan (Byron Bay), Stephen Walsh (NSW/Lennox Head) and Mitch Colborne (Maroochydore QLD) all joining Richardson in round two by winning their opening round heats.
Surf conditions improved as the day progressed with a building swell and higher scores became frequent.
The day's best heat was fought out closely between Junior Faria (Brazil) and Australia's Rhys Bombaci with both surfers scoring high seven point rides. Faria won the heat posting a high scoring tally of 14.37 while Bombaci progressed in 2nd place on 13.76.
Other surfers to stand-out today included Richard Christie (NZ), Nat Young (USA) and Jayke Sharpe (AUS).