The Vince Lombardi Trophy and The Stanley Cup have nothing on what Adam Melling just won himself at the 6* PRIME O’Neill Water Classic Event in Scotland. Sure, Lord Stanley’s Cup can hold a few helpings of beer, but being knighted and receiving a sword has got to be one of the greatest awards in any sport. How many people can say they won a legitimate sword just from surfing?
Apart from my disappointment that O’Neill will probably never give me a sword, the second event of their Cold Water Classic Series went to plan and put out another stellar event. Contest organizers around the world take note: cold water events test the fortitude of the surfers, and shows who really has the balls to muscle it out fully neoprened instead of being in boardies and surrounded by pro hos in tiny bikinis soaking up the UV rays, among other things. Plus, as I mentioned before, trophies like this make guys want it more. And when guys want it more, their surfing gets that much better. Congrats Adam! Now go slay something with that steel and WQS ratings lead.
THURSO, Thurso East, Scotland (Tuesday, May 5, 2009) – Adam Melling (Queensland, AUS) clinched the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime O'Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland by Swatch today finishing on top of another 23-heat marathon-day after defeating fellow Queenslander and finalist Luke Munro (AUS) in solid five to six foot (1.5 to 2 meter) waves at the world class venue of Thurso East.
Melling, 24, who was surfing his second consecutive final at Thurso, grabs valuable 3500 ratings' points to keep his ASP World Tour qualification campaign going leaving the Highlands ranked No. 1 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS). Melling also rises as a serious contender towards the first ever O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series Champion title.
Melling, who bested Munro in a last 35-minute encounter after getting through four rounds and delivering an ultimate assault, eventually made it to the highest rank of the event dominating proceedings on the final day with several impressive results including a 16.50 point tally in Round 4 before netting the event's highest score of 17.50 points (both out of a possible 20) in the Quarterfinals.
“I just couldn't let go a second one, not that sword and I am so stoked to get it eventually,” Melling said. “I was freezing and really tired during that heat but I managed to get a couple of good waves early enough and managed to hold Luke (Munro) back until the end. I had a great event and was feeling good the whole time. I am just so happy, and very cold.”
The 24-year old Australian surfer, who had to best former event champion Russell Winter (GBR) and solid youn gun Marc Lacomare (Hossegor, FRA) before taking the best over Blake Thornton (AUS), will now lead the ratings until the next ASP WQS 6-Star Prime event in the Maldives, and will build on his great confidence boost to keep his Dream Tour inception goal within reach.
“I wanted to go one better than last year and I really like the waves here so I was hoping for it,” Melling said. “This wave of Thurso East is similar to what I have at home except for the water temperature and I felt pretty comfortable throughout the day. That Cold Water Classic thing is great, there has been some good swell at both events”
2009 runner-up Luke Munro, 25, a former ASP World Tour competitor now looking to requalify for the elite circuit, could not answer Melling's early fire in the final struggling to find a strong ride and stay in the race to the title. Munor, who had impressed with his power surfing and radical approach since Day 1, came short in the last battle, leaving Melling get away with the famous O'Neill CWC Scotland sword.
“I was relaxed and enjoying my time out there the whole event,” Munro said. “Being relaxed is definitely good to make the right decisions and Scotland really suits me, almost feel at home here. I am enjoying competing and it showed here so hopefully I can keep things rolling and get back up there on the Dream Tour next year.”
Joan Duru (Ondres, FRA), 20, definitely experienced the shocker of the day losing in Semifinal No.1 to Munro in the dying seconds of their encounter after leading the battle and holding tight to his first ever Prime rated event final ticket for more than twenty-nine minutes. Duru, who had surfed exceptionally throughout the final day netting a couple of excellent scores including a 9.00 pointer in the Quarters, made a mistake while having priority over Munro and had to accept an equal 3rd place finish for his best result of the year thus far.
“I had a good wave right in the ning and I felt pretty good,” Duru said. “I did not think too much in that last minute and thought I would better seat at the peak and wait for the bomb using my priority. That one wave came and it was smaller and I was confident there would be a second good one and I would have the chance to better my second score. Unfortunateley, nothing came and Luke (Munro) ripped that one to the shore. A hard-learnt lesson.”
Duru, who grabbed 2275 ratings' points for his Scottish campaign, jumps to an unprecedent No. 4 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) and will build on his rising favorite status after placing no worse than 9th throughout the whole European April league. Duru increases his lead on the ASP WQS European ratings and will be much expected on his ASP Dream Tour qualification quest when he paddles back out in the next event.
“That 3rd is a keeper and I am still happy with that run,” Duru. “I surfed well in the event, felt relaxed and confident and after winning the event in France and getting a 9th last week, I've done what I wanted to. I am glad to go home now and rest and spend time with my friends. That strong lead on the European ratings is good news as well and I'll keep this somewhere at the back of my head because I would love to get that title either.”
Other Semifinalist and rising Australian to make the final four was Blake Thornton, the New South Wales resident finishing his run in the Semis of the The Most Northern event on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS). Thornton (New South Wales, AUS), 24, was left away from the final in a wave-starved heat where he was not able to find any good wave.
“It just stopped breaking for our heat and the few better ones weren't for me,” Thornton said. “I wasn't worried until the last ten minutes as I was confident a set would be breaking because there were a lot of waves whilst paddling out. It's still a third for me and I am looking forward to building on that result after my fifth at Margaret River.”
Former event champions Russell Winter (Newquay, GBR in 2006), Nathan Hedge (New South Wales, AUS in 2007) and Adam Robertson (Victoria, AUS in 2008) all placed equal 9th today showing their consistency at the world famous venue of Thurso.
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O'NEILL CWC SCOTLAND BY SWATCH FINAL
1 – Adam Melling (AUS) 14.17 pts
2 – Luke Munro (AUS) 8.90 pts
O'NEILL CWC SCOTLAND BY SWATCH SEMIFINALS
SF 1: Luke Munro (AUS) 13.50 pts Def. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.50 pts
SF 2: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 pts Def. Blake Thornton (AUS) 3.80 pts
O'NEILL CWC SCOTLAND BY SWATCH QUARTERFINALS
QF 1: Joan Duru (FRA) 16.17 pts Def. Jarrad Howse (AUS) 8.93 pts
QF 2: Luke Munro (AUS) 16.63 pts Def. Yuri Sodre (BRA) 7.34 pts
QF 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 17.50 pts Def. Christophe Allary (REU) 7.60 pts
QF 4: Blake Thornton (AUS) 14.06 pts Def. Jarrad Sullivan (AUS) 13.17 pts