SANTA CRUZ, California/USA (Thursday, October 21, 2010) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME O’Neill Cold Water Classic California marched through 22 heats of the Round of 96 with former ASP Dream Tour veteran Dayyan Neve (North Steyne, AUS), 32, igniting the event’s top scores in firing three-to-five foot ( 1.5 metre) waves at Steamer Lane.
Surfers competing in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California are looking to capitalize on the event’s ASP PRIME rating points to either maintain their position on or qualify for the prestigious ASP World Tour.
Neve got off to a sluggish start in his bout against current ASP World Tour campaigner Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 28, young Hawaiian John Florence (North Shore, HI), and Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 22, but built momentum throughout the back half of his heat to eventually capture the day’s highest single wave score of a near perfect 9.33 out of 10 en route to the day’s highest heat-total of 17.56 out of 20 with calculated rail-work on Steamer Lane’s iconic right-handers.
“I was only in rhythm at the end,” Neve said. “The beginning was a little bit dodgy. I sort of blew two waves and didn’t really surf them that well and luckily a wave came to me and I surfed it well enough to get a score. I’ve only had a few surfs out here at Steamer Lane, but I loved it.”
Neve, who was a full-time ASP Dream Tour campaigner in 2009, reveled in Steamer Lane’s pumping conditions rather than focusing on his quest for requalification for the ASP World Tour.
“I haven’t got any real good results this year,” Neve said. “For me, I’m just having a good time surfing a perfect pointbreak with only four guys out.”
Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 26, was another competitor who relied on powerful rail-to-rail surfing while posting an impressive 15.67 heat total to start off his O’Neill Cold Water Classic California campaign. The talented regular-footer jumped out to an early lead in his Round 2 matchup, and carried the lead throughout the heat’s entirety.
“Everyone was playing cat and mouse out the back and trying to get in position and I had a bit of luck,” Curran said. “I caught that one wave and to get that off of the start was a buffer. I feel good with the cold water and booties, and I’ve been coming up to Santa Cruz for awhile, so I’m used to it.”
Curran, who is fresh off of an equal 9th place finish at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada, carried his competitive mindset to California to take out his heat win over an impressive field including former ASP Dream Tour surfer Blake Thornton (Sydney, AUS), 25.
“I think surfing a bunch of heats before coming into this event definitely helps,” Curran said. “It just helps your frame of mind and out here (Steamer Lane) it’s kind of all about getting the waves, it’s kind of tricky out there. I’m just stoked to get those two waves.”
The hard-working Californian is also out to capitalize on the crucial ratings points on offer at the ASP PRIME event to increase his chances of eventually requalifying for the ASP Dream Tour.
“I’m definitely trying to get back on tour, that’s the goal,” Curran said. “Obviously this year is kind of a weird one with all of the changes, but we’ll see how it ends up. It doesn’t change my attitude towards the year. I love competing and doing contest and obviously want to be back on tour.”
Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 19, former O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion, carried the torch for the local crowd with a technical backhand attack to take out his Round of 96 heat victory over the event’s top seed, current ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, who advanced in second.
“There weren’t many waves and everyone was going on bad ones,” Young said. “My best wave was an inside one off of the cliff. I was stoked I got it and then found a backup one. No one had really high scores in that heat so it worked out for me.”
The talented Santa Cruz native struggled to find his feet in the opening minutes of his heat, but shook off the nerves that came along with being the local favorite and consistently dismantled several right-handers throughout the back half of his heat.
“I was pretty nervous out there,” Young said. “It was the first heat and a really hard one so I was nervous for sure. I wanted to get a few scores quickly, but that never happened. I’m happy I made it. Jordy is the best guy in the contest, so surfing against him always makes me nervous, but I’m stoked I made it.”
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 29, defending O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion, advanced out of his opening heat behind Sebastian Zietz (Kilauea, HI), 22, to keep his chances of a repeat title alive.
“There are good waves to be had out there,” Yeomans said. “They’re definitely out there, but The Lane is tricky. It really comes down to getting the right wave and being confident and patient. It’s always good to get the ball rolling and keep it coming.”
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic California is the last of five stops on the O’Neill Cold Water Classic series, with the series’ winner taking an additional $50,000.
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic California holds a waiting period from October 18 through 24, 2010 and will be webcast LIVE via http://www.oneill.com/cwc/california
O’Neill Cold Water Classic California Round of 96 Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 11.80, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.34, Killian Garland (USA) 8.00, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 5.90
Heat 2: Jonny Craft (USA) 9.60, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.30, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 7.83, Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 7.06
Heat 3: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 11.00, Alain Riou (PYF) 10.07, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 10.04, David Weare (ZAF) 5.97
Heat 4: Roy Powers (USA) 13.60, Joel Centeio (HAW) 11.86, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.80, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 8.70
Heat 5: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50, Mason Ho (HAW) 8.97, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.13, Marco Giorgi (URY) 6.67
Heat 6: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 15.67, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 9.04, Blake Thornton (AUS) 4.87, Shaw Kobayashi (USA) 4.07
Heat 7: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.93, Brian Toth (PRI) 8.20, Chris Ward (USA) 7.10, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 6.97
Heat 8: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.43, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 10.53, Jason Collins (USA) 7.83, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 5.40
Heat 9: Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.87, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.93, Jay Quinn (NZL) 9.00, Dylan Graves (PRI) 4.47
Heat 10: Nic Muscroft (AUS) 13.77, Luke Davis (USA) 10.10, Torrey Meister (HAW) 9.77, Jay Thompson (AUS) 9.27
Heat 11: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.00, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.97, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.60, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 8.17
Heat 12: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 17.56, Bobby Martinez (USA) 15.00, Eric Geiselman (USA) 10.97, John Florence (HAW) 10.67
Heat 13: Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 10.74, Jayke Sharp (AUS) 9.40, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 8.20, Randy Bonds (USA) 7.90
Heat 14: Cory Lopez (USA) 13.90, Chris Waring (USA) 11.67, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.07, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 4.63
Heat 15: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.80, Andre Silva (BRA) 9.53, Heath Joske (AUS) 8.60, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 8.00
Heat 16: Luke Stedman (AUS) 15.94, Tonino Benson (HAW) 10.00, Junior Faria (BRA) 9.77, Tim Boal (FRA) 8.73
Heat 17: Austin Ware (USA) 12.33, Anthony Petruso (USA) 11.63, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.23, Tim Reyes (USA) 8.63
Heat 18: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.84, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.97, Bud Freitas (USA) 8.90, Casey Brown (HAW) 5.43
Heat 19: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.00, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.17, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 8.87, Ricardo Santos (BRA) 6.87
Heat 20: Adam Robertson (AUS) 15.00, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.87, Cory Arrambide (USA) 10.07, Glenn Hall (IRL) 8.86
Heat 21: Stu Kennedy (AUS) 12.80, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 11.06, Kai Barger (HAW) 8.63, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.67
Heat 22: Peter Mel (USA) 15.60, Richard Christie (NZL) 11.14, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 10.77, Ben Dunn (AUS) 7.30