O'Neill Cold Water Classic And Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships Return To Santa Cruz Nov. 2-8
Nine months in the making, four spectacular and wild surf events spanning four different continents, comes down to this, the fifth and final event – the upgraded Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime O’Neill Cold Water Classic California at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, Calif., Nov. 2-8, 2009. The ASP Grade-3 Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships will concurrently.
From November 2nd until November 8th, the birthplace of O’Neill – Santa Cruz – will host the final stop on the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series 2009. The 6-Star Prime ASP WQS event is where the inaugural Cold Water Classic Series winner will be crowned and awarded the staggering $50,000 prize money.
“Santa Cruz is the perfect location at which to end the first year of this groundbreaking surf series,” says O’Neill Global Event Manager, Bernhard Ritzer. “The Cold Water Classic Series has been about breaking boundaries and exploring new locations and going further than anyone else to find world-class surf breaks. The roots of that thinking found within O’Neill are here in Santa Cruz – the pioneering spirit of Jack O’Neill can be found throughout the town and the surf community.”
And so can some breathtaking surf. Nestled between coastal redwood forests and the Monterey Bay sanctuary, Santa Cruz is known for its classic point breaks, alternative lifestyles, and devoted surf culture. The amphitheatre-like renowned surf break of Steamer Lane is where many surfers have battled the elements in icy water and rugged conditions over the years.
Upgraded to a 6-Star Prime WQS event with $145,000 prize purse, the likes of current and former ASP World Tour stalwarts Jordy Smith, Timmy Reyes, Roy Powers, Cory Lopez and Adriano de Souza, current top American WQS leader Brett Simpson, current ASP World Junior Champion Kai Barger, and big wave rider Mark Mathews are all looking to oust reigning 2008 Champion Nat Young for the coveted title of Cold Water Classic champion. A local trial will also advance two talented local into the mix.
Santa Cruz surfer, Jason ‘Ratboy’ Collins has been selected as the event ambassador. As well as being a passionate Steamer Lane local who graduated from Santa Cruz High School, Collins has been part of the Cold Water Classic’s rich history.
“Steamer Lane is a world-class wave,” says Ratboy. “It’s a very powerful, long perfect point break that can produce barrels, big air sections and lots of high-performance surfing. It’s a great thing to have a 6-Star Prime WQS event on my home break.”
The Cold Water Classic in Santa Cruz has been Northern California’s premiere professional surfing event since 1987, and the iconic Steamer Lane has a storied background, crowning some of surfing’s all-time greats.
“I think the locals have a big advantage,” says Ratboy. “The Lane has some tricky sections and is unpredictable. Nat Young is one of my favorites to win it again this year.”
Among the Cold Water Classic champions are World Champions Tom Curren and Martin Potter, as well as, World Tour surfers Joel Parkinson, Bobby Martinez, and Jordy Smith, and a number of local professionals, including defending champion and Oakley’s Nat Young.
Not just the winner of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California will be crowned by Pat O’Neill, son of O’Neill’s famed founder Jack, but the Cold Water Classic Series overall winner will also take to the podium at the conclusion of this week-long surfing extravaganza.
The top five ranked surfers in the CWC Series rankings, prior to the event in Canada next week, currently sit as follows: 1. Blake Thornton, 2. Jarrad Howse, 3. Lord Adam Melling, 4. Jordy Smith, 5. Nathan Hedge. However the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada from October 25 – 31 has the potential to shake things up quite a bit before the surfers hit Santa Cruz.
In conjunction, the Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships will run concurrently with the O’Neill CWC 2009. The event is a venue to showcase the talents of the next generation of surfers ages 20 years and younger. Former champions have included in 2006 Dion Atkinson, and in 2007 Nat Young who then went on to win the main event in 2008.
Special thanks to all of the sponsors of the 2009 O’Neill Cold Water Classic and Oakley Pro Junior: O’Neill, Oakley, Red Bull, Corralejo Tequila, SURFER and SURFING, as well as, the official hotel partner, The Dream Inn, and food partner, Whole Foods.