The O'Neill Coldwater Classic series of 6-star events boasts the coldest event of the year, the most northern event of the year ... yada, yada, yada. Well, after this week it can boast some of the straight up best waves of this year.
The opening rounds went off in Thurso, Scotland, in surf that made half the World Tour stops look like junky windswell. Massive surf met perfect offshore winds for the first several days and peeled across the Highlands reef for what winner Brent Dorrington called the best waves for a contest he's ever surfed in his life.
The first day was called epic by those who surfed it, easily the best conditions ever for this particular event. By late week, conditions were six-foot, allowing for some seriously progressive surfing and by the weekend, there were mountains of water more suitable for the Hawaiian Triple Crown than the British Isles.
Dorrington, of Australia, collected $20,000 for his efforts in beating Jay Quinn of New Zealand. Of course, Dorrington also got the ceremonial sword.
"My friends who I travel with -- Lord Adam Melling and Lord Royden Bryson -- both have a Highland Sword each, so it's great I have one too now," said Dorrington, "I'm going to hang that sword on my wall in the pool room above the pool table."
Quinn had bested Alain Riou to get to the final, and Dorrington posted an 18.5-point total in the semifinal to beat Kiwi Richard Christie. The finalists saw more or a chess match with Dorrington putting up on a 9 total, to Quinn's 7.66.
Some of the real excitement came in the early rounds and the macking surf, especially from the Kiwis. Christie posted a 17.17 in Round Two. Also, Quinn tamed one of the biggest beasts of the event on Saturday. British surfer, Micah Lester, took the event's only perfect 10 the first day of competition, for a long, perfect, barrel to gouge. The event was dominated by Kiwis, Aussies, and European surfers. There wasn't much Brazilian presence and the only US surfer to even make Round 4 was Kevin Sullivan, of Hawaii.
The win puts Dorrington at the top spot on the overall CWC ratings with two events to go, ahead of Adam Melling, Joan Duru, and Quinn. The next stop for the series isn't until Canada in October.