AFter waiting for most of the morning it was decided to call off competition for the day. So at midday a few of the O’Neill international team jumped in the car and were shown a few sheltered spots nearby. let the pics do the talking.
Well we are reaching the business end of competition. The venue today was back at Wainui beach’s Pines. After been on hold waiting on a building swell the comp kicked off with small 2 foot peaks rolling in. Many wondered why the comp was called on this day, but when the first surfers stroked into their first waves all reservations were answered. They tore the living daylights out of the small yet punchy waves. It was the first real airshow of the competition with the new school strike force showing their repertoire. After the completion of the round event organisers called a halt to the day satisfied that better conditions would prevail over the next few days. What an awesome day of surfing, truly another level.
After yesterdays shift to “Pipe” The new day dawned with another full day of competition held once again at pipe, morning conditions were stellar with our greatest surfer ever flying the flag, Maz dominated the first heat and moved through to the next round. Matt Hewitt was the next kiwi up but fell victim to a change in conditions sitting off the peak for most of the heat. Tim Occonor then hit the water looking to emulate MAz and join him as the sole kiwi left but was narrowly pipped by some awesome surfing by the internationals. WIth waves breaking through the tide lefts and rights were taken apart in a high performance display. In the round of 24 Maz the sole remaining Kiwi went neck and neck in his heat and with a minute left and requiring a 7 point ride took off on a hell left unfortunately slipping on his second move unable to get a connection of his famous backhand verts going. Still a respectable result for the man that has been out of competition for sometime.
Competitors and onlookers could have been forgiven if they thought it was april fools today. After the contest director called the contest go at Wainui’s Pines break, every local and those that knew a bit about surfing in this region were bemused. Here was an international event with the best surfers in the world, surfing the worst waves on the coastline. By mid morning it finally became obvious and a move into the town beach of Midway and Gizzy Pipe was called. Finally some awesome waves were on offer for the best to show their skills. Unfortunately for us kiwis local boys and probably our best hopes Jay Quinn and Richard Christie went down in their first seeded round. So at this point we still have Maz Quinn, Billy Stairmand. Matt Hewitt and the Wildcard Tim Occonor who blazed the last heat of the day to progress in his first ever WQS. Onya son.
With Northerlies called for the morn Pipe could be the option but lets wait and see.
Day 2 dawned at around 2-3 foot but reports were to have the swell building throughout the day. WIth mixed up ocean conditions from a strong cold easterly at least it was perfect Cold Water Classic weather.
Today the big guns came out to play and once the seeded surfers hit the water the action was all go. There were some huge moves going down and Kiwi lads Maz Quinn and Billy Stairmand progressed with style into round 3. Jay Quinn and Richard Christie still have to surf later in the round which wasnt completed today. In earlier heats of round one that was completed early morn, Tane Wallis and Luke Hughes went down fighting with Tane coming narrowly close on his last wave. Alex Dive dream run also came to an end later in the day in round 2.
By mid afternoon with a dropping tide and rising swell the lineup became all ripped up so a halt to the day was called.
Next call at 7AM Friday morn. This evening teh swell was lining up better and the wind is forecast to go the northeast which may offer some other arenas.
Well what a shame after weeks of pumping waves mother nature has turned the epic waves tap off and the wind and rain tap on. The good news is their was surf and while it was sometimes atrocious with southerly squall after squall punching through the lineup, you wouldnt have known as the best surfers in the world made the most of what was on offer and definately made it look better than it was. There is no doubt that these guys are the best in the world, with fast, powerful surfing you had to pinch your self and wonder how they get so much speed in the slop that they were given.
The Kiwi lads all put in good performances throughtout the day holding their own in some very competitive heats. Alex Dive, Maz Quinn and Matt Hewitt all moved through to round 2 where they will meet the top seeds possibly tomorrow.
Unfortunately Buck Woods, Johhny Hicks, Zen Wallis and Morehu Roberts were eliminated but put in very good performances taking the more experienced opponents to the wire.
THe Swell looks like it will build for day 2 with winds from the east
In what has been a long time coming, the Oneill Cold Water Classic has rolled into Gisborne and was welcomed in with a traditional Powhiri (welcoming) held at the Manutuke Marae. Competitors and officials were stunned after experiencing a deep cultural tradition and then feasted with the local tribe and fellow competitors. The contest will kick off tomorrow morning and while it doesnt look like great surf on the way, at least there is some ( most wqs events are held in 1-2 foot)