When it comes to sheer quality, it doesn’t get much better than this, at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Tasmania.
With a two metre swell, light offshore winds and a challenging beach break in an isolated corner of Tasmania, the stars came out to surf on this the second day of competition.
The heat of the day was between a 2001 World Champion, a legendary big wave surfer, a Tasmanian wildcard, and a Brazilian wonderkid – CJ Hobgood, Mark Mathews, Dustin Hollick and Thiago Camarao.
Dustin, qualifying through the local trials, didn’t manage to make it through this first heat in the round of 96, but his surfing more than matched up to that of his competitors – CJ Hobgood finishing first, and Mark Mathews in second place.
“It was awesome, I had a ball, but I was really nervous,” said Dustin. I don’t normally go in competitions – then to go in one and surf against a world champion, I was really nervous. Then when I saw him do that big air, I was really shaking.”
“I’ve surfed Shipsterns with Mark before,” he said. “But I’ve never seen him surf small waves. I thought he wouldn’t be that good in small waves… then I saw him get a few.”
“I had fun out there” said Mark Mathews. “It was great to be in a heat with Dustin who I know from Shipsterns, and CJ. And although I’ve been to Tasmania loads, this part of Tasmania is new to me. It is amazingly isolated.”
With two outstanding waves both scoring over 9 points, CJ Hobgood cruised through to the next round.
“I wanted to come here because it’s such an amazing location and I’ve never been here before,” said WCT surfer CJ.
Earlier in the day in the round of 144, former WCT surfer, Cory Lopez cruised through his heat with some impressive trademark aerial displays.
So did Reunion surfer, Christophe Allaray. “It was really fun there,” said Christophe. “I‘ve never been anywhere this isolated before – with all the snakes and other animals.
“Getting to the beach we are at was amazing,” he said. “We parked and walked along a bay for ages and thought we were there, then didn’t realize we couldn’t even see where the comp was being held– it was somewhere over some more rocks and dunes. It’s pretty incredible this place.”
With conditions easing on the northwest coast of Tasmania, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic took full advantage of its mobile format – upping from Bluff Reef to the sand bottom break of Kelpies at West Point.
“The swell today wasn’t big enough for Bluff Reef,” said contest director Matt Wilson. “Yesterday we saw full swell on a gnarly reef. Today it’s a more high perfomance left. You could not run this event in one location only.”
Tomorrow looks set to offer similar conditions as the round of 96 continues – among the surfers tomorrow is WCT star Jordy Smith who is eagerly anticipating the chance to get in and surf the Tasmanian waters.