After three days of freezing wind and bone-chilling rain, we awoke yesterday at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic to some of the best surf that Cox Bay had seen all year. Overhead lines stacked out to the horizon, not a hint of the wind that had been plaguing the event all week, it was pristine surf in anyone’s eyes in any part of the world.
When Canada turns on, the prospect of suiting up for a coldwater session isn’t quite as grueling as it is when the wind chill makes you want to cry. (I only did this once, I swear.) For Californian Brett Simpson, having head-high perfection out front definitely helped cut the pain of donning a slushy suit, glove, and booties as he headed out for his heat.
“I think this has been the best surf of the event, and probably the best surf of the series so far,” said Simpson, who dropped one of the many 9s today and would win his heat in the process.
Simpson looks solid to be joining the World Tour next year. It’s a fact that is making his time in Canada all the more enjoyable.
“I don’t want to say that I’ve qualified just yet…I don’t want to jinx myself, ya know? But having a good standing right now definitely makes it easier to surf a heat. I think today was probably the best surf that the series has seen yet. That makes it easy too.”
Another high-water mark moment today went to Santa Cruz’s Nat Young, who barely squeaked by in his heat despite posting a 9.7 on his opening wave. Trouble was, Kevin Sullivan from Hawaii and Aussie Dion Atkinson did the same thing, leaving young Nat in quite the pickle. But these kids like Nat are hyped by the media for a reason: They really are that good. And in the closing seconds, needing a mid-range score of a 5, Nat pulled it off. They almost always do.
As the day wore on, the swell began to filter off, leaving some very rippable conditions mixed with some falling rain. It was the epitome of a coldwater wet dream. Green pines steps from the beach, a cold, falling rain, endless peaks down the bay. It was a coldwater paradise.
Unfortunately, it’s not forecasted to last. The local weather is calling for a decrease in swell and some heavy rain followed by a mega storm this weekend, leaving officials scrambling to run as many heats in the Canadian utopia while the conditions last.
Stay tuned, as local boy Peter Devries surfs tomorrow. Can he continue his streak in his own backyard? You’ll have to log on to find out.