Gisborne, New Zealand, March 23, 2011
The O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series 2011 was greeted head-on with the first big southerly storm of the year to hit Gisborne.
Despite conditions being less than desirable with 30 knot onshore winds, cold temperatures and a messy 2.0m swell, the event kicked off with a full day of explosive surfing.
After an absence of thirteen years for top level Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Men's events in New Zealand, it was still Maz Quinn (Gisborne, New Zealand) who impressed for the Kiwi's on day one. Quinn surfed through to the round of 96 after winning today's heat scoring 10.17 out of a possible 20 points.
Fourteen years ago Quinn shocked the surfing world by placing second in a New Zealand ASP event before going on to qualify for the ASP World Championship in 2002, the only Kiwi to ever do so. Now retired from international competition, an event at his home break was too hard to refuse entry.
"It would have been good to have this size comp at home when I was competing internationally but better late than never" said Quinn. "To have a six star event in ya' backyard is awesome for the local surfers and good for the young kids to watch too."
On his performance today, Quinn felt it was a bit of a lucky dip with the average waves on offer. "I had a slow start but got two at the end and yeah, stoked I made it through in the end" added Quinn.
Quinn is confident the conditions will improve over the coming days for all the visiting surfers. "The swell looks like it gets solid tonight and tomorrow with lighter winds tomorrow too. The winds won't be flash over the next few days but at least there will be swell – that is the main thing."