Toby Martin (Sydney, Aus.) won the O’Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep yesterday in pumping overhead surf at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California. This World Qualifying Series (WQS) four-star event and the Oakley Pro Junior North American Championships narrowed their respective competitor fields down to the final 16.
Martin, who is currently ranked 43rd on the prestigious Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, had been in sizzling form all event utilizing his experience amongst the world’s best to claim the victory at his first ever Cold Water Classic campaign.
“I’m wrapped right now with this win,” Martin said. “In all the years I’ve been competing, I’ve never had the time to come up here and do the event. Santa Cruz is such a legendary place and the Cold Water Classic is so prestigious that I had to compete this year.” Martin held onto a slender lead throughout the heat despite the onslaught from opponents Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, Calif.), Jesse Merle-Jones (Sunset, Haw.) and Josh Loya (Santa Cruz, Calif.).
“I grew up on a wave that is very similar to Steamer’s,” Martin said. “I feel really comfortable out there. I knew the conditions were deteriorating so I just tried to get some scores under my belt. It’s so great to have such amazing local support from the Santa Cruz crew up here. It’s been a phenomenal week.”
Josh Loya (Santa Cruz, Calif.) was the sole local competing in the finals. Gaining entry into the event through the O’Neill Trials, Loya surfed an astonishing 10 heats in six days. “I would have loved a win out here – I mean, I really really would have loved a win out here,” said Loya. “Unfortunately, I surfed a few more heats than everyone else and ran out of steam out there. A win would have been nice, but it’s still cool to make the final. I really appreciate all of the local support all week long.”
Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach, Calif.), currently ranked 11 on the Foster’s ASP World Championship Tour, suffered a horrific wipeout in his semifinal heat. Reyes was sitting in first position but following the execution of a lengthy floater, he landed awkwardly on his board, straining his back knee. The injury forced him to paddle out of the water with time still remaining in the heat, which allowed Josh Loya and Nathaniel Curran to advance to the final.
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, Calif.) clinched the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep title and took home the $10,000 bonus purse. Yeomans, who has surfed well in all three Trifecta events (the Body Glove Surfbout presented by Adio, the Newport Beach Pro presented by Jeep and the O’Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep) held on to the ratings lead today despite a last-minute charge by Nathaniel Curran. Curran finished second in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic – only a few tenths out of first place. Had Curran won the O’Neill Cold Water Classic he would have netted $20,000 in prize money, $10,000 for the WQS win plus the $10,000 Macy’s California Trifecta bonus.
“I was so nervous watching the final that I couldn’t even be here – I was watching it at home online,” said Yeomans. “I’m really ecstatic that I won. Today was a nail-biter. I’m psyched that Macy’s put up the money for these three events – it’s a reflection on the guys who surf these events all year.” Dustin Cuizon (Ewa Beach, HI) finishes the Trifecta series in third place after an early exit from the O’Neill Cold Water Classic event.
FUEL TV, the action sports lifestyle network, will telecast the O’Neill Coldwater Classic presented by Jeep for dates and air times visit: www.fuel.tv.
Check out the O’Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep and all of the Macy’s California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep surf breaks at www.WaveWatch.com.