SANTA CRUZ, California (Wednesday, October 28, 2009) – The O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz represents the final event on the 2009 O'Neill Cold Water Series and has been upgraded to an ASP 6-Star PRIME, attracting some of the world's finest competitive surfers to Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California from November 2 through 8, 2009 while looking to solidify their spot on to the 2010 ASP Dream Tour.
In addition to the ASP 6-Star PRIME event, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz will be accompanied by the final ASP North America Pro Junior Series event of the year, the ASP Grade-3 Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships, which finalizes who will qualify for the prestigious ASP World Junior Championships held in Narrabeen, Australia each January.
Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 18, who was last year's O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz winner when the event was an ASP 4-Star, will now have to battle the hungriest of ASP World Tour hopefuls as well as several current ASP Dream Tour campaigners in order to retain his hometown crown.
"I'm trying not to have too big of expectations for the event this year as far as a repeat win, but I want to do well at home," Young said. "With the upgrade to a 6-Star PRIME, there are really going to be so many top guys there and it's going to be tough."
Young is also a top performer on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series and is looking to build momentum throughout the event by competing in both the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz as well as the Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships.
"Surfing both the 'QS and Pro Junior events really helps build momentum throughout the event," Young said. "I like being able to surf in as many heats as I can to say fresh throughout a contest."
The Santa Cruz native is also out to finish his 2009 campaign off on a good note before heading to Narrabeen, Australia to compete in the ASP World Junior Championships. Although Young's current rating on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series would earn his passageway to Australia, the goofy-footer's stellar performance on the ASP WQS this year will allow him to advance to Australia as the top American surfer of junior age on the ASP WQS.
"This event is important for qualification for the World Junior Championships because it's a Grade-3," Young said. "The extra points at the event can make a big difference if you're trying to qualify."
Adam Melling (Lennex Head, AUS), 23, is one international standout that Young will have to face at this year's O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz. The Australian has been on an absolute tear on The Grind this year and is currently sitting in the No. 5 position overall on the ASP WQS despite suffering a shoulder injury and missing crucial contests in Brazil. Melling is currently competing at the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada and is hoping to carry momentum from the event down to Santa Cruz.
"I had a bit of time off," Melling said. "I didn't go to Brazil and I've just been at home training. I've had a sore shoulder and I'm using Canada as a warm up before heading down to Santa Cruz."
Melling's trip to Santa Cruz will be his first voyage to the famed surf town and the talented Australian is hungry to get a taste of Steamer Lane's right-handers.
"I've never surfed Steamer Lane before, but I've heard a lot about the wave," Melling said. "I know that it can get pretty fun and I'm looking forward to going there for sure."
The O'Neill Cold Water Classic will also see ASP World Tour surfers such as current ASP World No 3 Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22, current ASP World Tour rookie Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 25, Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), 21, Hawaiian Roy Powers (Hanalei, HI), 28, and Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 27.
The O'Neill Cold Water Classic Santa Cruz and Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships will run from November 2 through 9, 2009 and will be web LIVE via coldwaterclassic.net For additional information, video, photos and highlights log on to oneill.com/cwc/california.