Adam Melling Victorious at Cold Water Classic New Zealand
Oakley’s Adam Melling (AUS) found victory at the first event of the 2011 O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Gisborne, New Zealand on Tuesday, but not without a little flare as he waited until the closing seconds of the final heat to seal the win over Brazilian surfer Willian Cardoso.
The final took place at The Pines on Wainui Beach in clean 1.5m waves with offshore winds despite a horrid forecast of gale force onshore winds for the day. The miraculous turn around in weather brought the crowds out to absorb the action of the last seven heats.
Melling posted 15.20 out of a possible 20 points for the win, which was made even more special given it was his 26th birthday.
“I am 26 today and I won the final…I am stoked” said Melling after being chaired up the beach by his mates. “Pretty fun out there, it turned on for the final…It was a little slow at the start, but came on in the end.
“At the start of the heat there, I was looking back in at the beach and I was thinking wow I don’t have any waves. I missed one at the start. I was freaking out a bit and Willian was down the beach, but I knew I was in a good spot and if a ‘sucky’ one came in I knew I could bang out the turns and get the score.”
At the award ceremony after an emotional Haka performed by an inspired local Maori, Melling was awarded with a traditional Maori weapon called a Tewhatewha, in the tradition of the Cold Water Classic Series where the winners receive meaningful awards from the host country.
Melling also received $20,000 USD for the win and moved up one place on the ASP One World Rankings to 23rd. He hopes to attend more Cold Water Classic events in a bid to win the series and claim the $50,000 USD prize money for the series win.
Melling was full of praise for the Gisborne Region. “It is a perfect spot for the comp – not too cold, but some freezing mornings still. So many different waves on offer and you can hide from the weather.”
Despite placing second scoring 13.67 points after holding the lead for more than 29 minutes, Cardoso was still happy with his result today.
“I am so stoked, it was a really fun day. I did my best in the final…Adam is a great surfer,” said Cardoso who has been travelling in motor homes with eleven of his Brazilian friends and enjoying the New Zealand coastline.
Oakley teammate Tom Whitaker jumped up to 32nd in the rating by placing equal third with fellow Australian Stu Kennedy. However that was the last thing on Whitaker’s mind after losing to his mate.
“It [was] his birthday, we sat 200m apart we didn’t want a piece of each other in that heat. He got the waves, I didn’t. It is the only way you want to lose to a good buddy. To watch him go on and win it is epic.”
Congratulations Adam and happy belated birthday!