O'Neill Cold Water Classic Begins
The ASP World Qualifying Series will wrap up the final event held in the continental 48 states this year with the ASP WQS 4-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic at Santa Cruz’s prized Steamer Lane from October 21-26.
This year’s event will see the crowning of a new O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion since last year’s winner Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), 20, will be preparing for an ASP World Tour event in Brazil. All surfers competing in the event are vying for the precious points available towards qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour.
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic also marks the final event of the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series. The ASP Specialty series offers an additional prize purse to the specialty series leader at year’s end. In addition to an increased Macy’s CA Trifecta prize purse, the ASP 4-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic has also upped the prizing ante for 2008. The $80,000 purse has increased $5,000 from last year. This year’s Trifecta title is also up for grabs, with last year’s champion Adam Virs (Ventura, CA), 29, out of the running for a repeat victory.
Kieran Horn (Santa Cruz, CA), 34, finished second behind Smith last year and is a favorite going into this year’s contest. Horn claimed a victory at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic back in 2003 and will look to use the familiarity of his home break in an attempt to take the title back home to Santa Cruz.
“I grew up surfing the reef and point breaks of Santa Cruz, so the Lane is a wave I am comfortable surfing,” Horn said. “It suits me much more than most waves I compete in.”
Horn is currently sitting in third on the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series behind the series leader and 2006 Trifecta Champion Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 28, who will not be attending the Santa Cruz event and 2005 Trifecta Champion Asher Nolan (Atlantic Beach, FL), 30. Horn could potentially take home this year’s title with a strong result and expressed his satisfaction regarding the added prize purse due to the involvement of the ASP specialty series.
“It is great to see a company like Macy's embrace surfing and core brands like O'Neill,” Horn said. “Usually surfers on the Qualifying series have to spend a lot of time and money traveling to make decent money so anytime American surfers don't have to leave the States to make some money it is an added bonus.”
Nolan is looking forward to the event and feels that a solid swell will increase his chances for a good result at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic.
“I love coming to Santa Cruz, I think its such a cool place and there's amazing waves,” Nolan said. “I'd have to say though that the Lane isn't my kind of wave. I think I do better when it’s bigger because when it’s smaller it breaks right off the cliff and there is tons of hassling going on, which isn't my thing.”