TOFINO, British Columbia (Wednesday, October 28, 2009) – Competition returned to Cox Bay for the fourth day of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada and surfers took to the water in good four-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at the nation's first professional surfing event. The improved conditions allowed for an exciting day of action with some big scores on the fourth day of competition.
Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 18, grabbed the highest single wave score of the event, a 9.77 out of 10, with jaw-ping backside surfing on a long Tofino righthander. Despite posting the near perfect score, the Santa Cruz talent was nearly eliminated from the action packed heat with all surfers blasting amazing scores throughout the hard-fought battle and Young eventually advanced in second behind Kevin Sullivan (Lahaina, HI), 22.
"That was a pretty gnarly heat," Young said. "I got that one (the 9.77) and I thought I had it wrapped up, I thought 'alright, I made that heat.' Then Kevin (Sullivan) and Dion (Atkinson) both got two good waves. I couldn't see their waves, but I heard the scores were nines and that I had been pushed to third, I was so frustrated. I couldn't believe that I could get that good of a score and not make the heat."
With only seconds remaining in the heat, Young managed to find a clean lefthander which allowed him to advance through to the Round of 48 over Dion Atkinson (Seaford, AUS), 23.
"Luckily that one came and I kind of surfed it conservatively," Young said. "I knew I could get the 4.93 that I needed on the wave, I just wanted to ride it to the beach. I didn't do anything great, but I got a couple of turns in. I'm really stoked. I would have been bummed to come here and lose first round."
Sullivan, who was a standout in his opening round heat, continued to shine in today's O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada competition, donating an impressive forehand performance on two clean right-handers to take an the impressive win by ping a 9.60 and a 6.10 into his score line.
"I heard that Nat Young ped that nine and I knew I wanted to get at least an 8," Sullivan said. "I knew the wave I got was a good one, but then when I heard that I got a 9.60 I was stoked."
Sullivan is trying to build momentum after suffering two injuries over the last year which has kept him from surfing for several months. The Hawaiian is currently surfing in his first event since the injury and the results have been a confidence builder after a long break from competition.
"It's been really hard for me over the last year because of injuries," Sullivan said. "I had to pull out of Haleiwa because I got a high ankle sprain. After it healed I had an okay result at the Maldives, but then I broke my foot again in Bali. I've been out of the water for seven months this year, so to make two heats at a 6-Star, I'm so psyched."
Adam Robertson (Victoria, AUS), 27, was another standout today, ping the day's highest heat total, a 16.33 out of 20, while advancing through to the Round of 48 in the opening heat of the day.
"When I first got here I knew that it was a little bit hard because the waves don't break out the back," Robertson said "You have to make sure to pick the right one that will break through to the inside where you can get your big turns off because it's much more steep."
The Australian has just fully recovered from a severe knee injury and was not sure if he'd be healthy for the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada. Due to a dedicated training regiment Robertson seems to be back in form and showed no sign of weakness while dominating his heat today.
"For me it's more of a relief because I spent two months out of the water," Robertson said. "I hurt my knee pretty bad and it's been a lot of hard work and a lot of training to get my body right to try and come back to this event. About three weeks ago I didn't even think I'd be coming to this event, so I'm relieved and I'm happy to be here and to make it through, but it's only one heat and I've got to string a bunch together."
Robertson is also using his comfort in the cold water due to his upbringing in near the chilly waters of Victoria, Australia to his advantage in Canada.
"I'm loving Canada," Robertson said. "The views and terrain are breathtaking. I'm from cold weather too, so surfing in a wetsuit is fine with me and I think it's a bit of an advantage for me, surfing in a wetsuit all of the time. I'm having a great time and I just have to keep progressing through the rounds."
The O'Neill Cold Water Classic is set to continue tomorrow with Heat 3 of the Round of 48 and event organizers will meet at 7:30am to make the call for the day. For event highlights including video, photos and live scores log on to oneill.com/cwc/canada.
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or aspnorthamerica.org.
O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada Round of 48 Results:
Heat 1: T.J. Barron (HAW) 14.00, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 13.23, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.87, Mashotoshi Ohno (JPN) 6.00
Heat 2: Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 15.10, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 11.53, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 10.94, Torrey Meister (HAW) 7.83
O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada Round of 96 Results:
Heat 14: Adam Robertson (AUS) 16.33, Shannon Brown (AUS) 12.63, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 11.67, Tommy O'Brien (USA) 5.53
Heat 15: Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 14.07, Mark Mathews (AUS) 12.90, Izuki Tanaka (JPN) 12.67, Joe Tanaka (JPN) 11.20
Heat 16: Luke Munro (AUS) 15.17, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 14.37, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 11.80, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 7.03
Heat 17: Kilian Garland (USA) 15.50, Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.60, Brad Ettinger (USA) 11.17, Casey Brown (HAW) 9.77
Heat 18: James Taipan Wood (AUS) 13.00, Jarrad Howse (AUS) 9.67, Brandon Ragenovich (USA) 6.20, Michael Baily (USA) 3.34
Heat 19: Alain Riou (PYF) 15.07, Eric Geiselman (USA) 9.10, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 9.03, Parrish Byrne (AUS) 7.24
Heat 20: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 15.33, Austin Ware (USA) 10.63, Christophe Allary (REU) 10.37, Brandon Barnes (USA) 7.90
Heat 21: Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 15.70, Nat Young (USA) 15.14, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 14.73, Gutemberg Da Cunha (BRA) 4.53
Heat 22: Heath Joske (AUS) 13.20, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 8.06, Kieran Horn (USA) 7.50, Jason Collins (USA) 7.36
Heat 23: Jay Thompson (USA) 16.00, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.00, Wade Goodall (AUS) 9.03, Gabe Garcia (USA) 7.80
Heat 24: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.77, Jason Harris (USA) 10.43, Travis Beckmann (USA) 10.33, Ryah Arthur (USA) 6.16