It's so hard to keep up with all them young whippersnapper with their neon-colored wetsuits, their airs, their reverses, and their air-reverses.
In what has been a pretty exciting ASP PRIME O'Neill Cold Water Classic thus far in Santa Cruz, the teenage mutant ninja-like surfers blew up. Friday, with the old swell fading and a new south swell filling in, the young bucks showed a glimpse of not what could be -- but what will be -- the future of pro surfing. Someday in the not too distant future, Kolohe Andino and Nat Young will be on the Big Boys Tour.
Nat Young, who won this event in 2008 and beat Jordy Smith on Thursday, first walked through his Round of 48 heat and then made a statement by beating Roy Powers and Brett Simpson in the Round of 24 on his backhand. Powers and "Simpo" are both currently on the World Tour. As a matter of fact, Simpo is ranked No. 14 in the ASP Men's World Rankings right now, and Young pulled out an 8.10 shortly before the horn to win.
Andino had a closer Round of 48 heat against Chris Waring, Jake Sharp and Luke Stedman. It was so close that Waring actually shaved Andino's backside with his fin after a huge smack to floater, as Andino ducked under him. Andino went into the Round of 24 and promptly beat Nate Yoemens, sending 11-year tour vet, Cory Lopez home with airs that will set the standard in the future.
"I caught a lot of waves in that heat," 16-year-old Andino said, "I was able to do a couple of little airs and then it went flat. A couple of guys fell on a few waves, so I'm stoked to make it through that heat. I always try to just get a quick start in my heats. I don't really change my strategy no matter who I'm surfing against."
Granger Larson, at 20, a seasoned vet compared to the likes of Young and Andino also came through with flying colors beating Bobby Martinez in the Round of 48 and winning the next. Larson has family in Santa Cruz and has spent considerable time here, learning the ins and outs of Steamer Lane.
Santa Cruz local and trials winner, Jonny Craft, 23, an old-timer by comparison, squeaked through the Round of 48 behind Young and then topping Puerto Rico's Brian Toth and Raoni Monteiro, of Brazil. He's on fire heading into the Round of 16.
The big news of the event, however, was that Jordy Smith rolled his ankle on Thursday night at a charity dodgeball event. It is nothing serious, but Smith chose to sit out the Classic and save his wheel for the Rip Curl Search event, next week in Puerto Rico.
Damien Hobgood took first in Heat 8 of the Round of 24. Matt Wilkinson is also looking hot at the moment. "Wilko" rode a 5'3 quad on Friday, which looked terribly shaky early on. But he eventually found his rhythm and made it work for him.
In O'Neill Cold Water Classic standings, the two front runners, Shaun Cansdell and Stuart Kennedy were both ejected from the Round of 48. That left the door open for Dion Atkinson, who snuck through the Round of 24 behind Larson. Cansdell retains the top slot in the running for the $50,000. However, if fellow Aussie Atkinson makes the final, the dough is his.
"I know Shaun is home giving the computer screen voodoos in my heat," said Atkinson, "I guess it's only me keeping him from holding that $50,000 in his hand."
Logistically, the event could run through and finish today although the swell could drop some, before picking up again on Sunday. The webcast can be seen here.O'Neill Cold Water Classic California Round of 24 Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 12.93, Roy Powers (HAW) 12.83, Brett Simpson (USA) 11.27
Heat 2: Jonny Craft (USA) 11.44, Brian Toth (PRI) 9.64, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.30
Heat 3: Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.84, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.73, Luke Davis (USA) 9.04
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.94, Mason Ho (HAW) 8.90, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 8.37
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.07, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.83, Cory Lopez (USA) 8.67
Heat 6: Chris Waring (USA) 10.84, Tonino Benson (HAW) 10.57, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 6.33
Heat 7: Richard Christie (NZL) 12.67, Adam Robertson (AUS) 9.10, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 6.56
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.27, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 10.83, Gabe Kling (USA) 8.27
O'Neill Cold Water Classic California Round of 48 Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 12.00, Jonny Craft (USA) 8.90, Joel Centeio (HAW) 7.33, Alain Riou (PYF) 4.43
Heat 2: Roy Powers (HAW) 14.00, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.47, Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 9.13, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 0.00
Heat 3: Brian Toth (PRI) 12.07, Brett Simpson (USA) 11.20, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 9.67, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.83
Heat 4: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.03, Mason Ho (HAW) 9.84, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 9.60, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 6.10
Heat 5: Granger Larsen (HAW) 15.16, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 12.67, Bobby Martinez (USA) 9.70, Heitor Alves (BRA) 6.70
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00, Luke Davis (USA) 9.77, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 8.50, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.27
Heat 7: Cory Lopez (USA) 14.06, Tonino Benson (HAW) 12.67, Gustavo Fernandes (BRA) 8.60, Andre Silva (BRA) 5.63
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.66, Chris Waring (USA) 10.17, Jayke Sharp (AUS) 7.93, Luke Stedman (AUS) 5.73
Heat 9: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10.77, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 9.54, Austin Ware (USA) 8.97, Daniel Ross (AUS) 5.63
Heat 10: Adam Robertson (AUS) 13.17, Gabe Kling (USA) 10.40, Anthony Petruso (USA) 10.03, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 9.10
Heat 11: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.27, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.90, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 9.36, Peter Mel (USA) 2.27
Heat 12: Billy Stairmand (NZL) 15.27, Richard Christie (NZL) 12.76, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.77, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 4.83
O'Neill Cold Water Classic California Round of 96 Results:
Heat 23: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.33, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.47, Kieran Horn (USA) 8.43, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 6.06
Heat 24: Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 10.10, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.10, Josh Loya (USA) 8.20, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 7.77