Day 6 of The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star men’s O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland decided the semi-finalists on a day that saw some incredible surfing as well as a full array of weather conditions from clear blue skies and sunshine to snow storms battering the main event site at Thurso East.
Competition began with excellent 6ft (1.5m) waves as the tide began to push in and cover the exposed slate rock reef. By the time the quarter-finalists hit the water the resilient crowd who had braved the elements to stay and watch the action were treated to bright sunshine and some incredible surfing right through to the end of the quarter finals.
A singularly magic moment occurred around midday when it actually started to snow over the competition area. Glen Hall (IRL) who later lost a close quarter-final heat against O’Neill team rider Shaun Cansdell (AUS) could not believe his eyes as the snow fell over Thurso East and says it will always remain as a fond memory.
“That was the most special heat of my life for sure. I’ll tell everyone at the pub when I’m old that it was proper full on snowing in my heat. It was cool, it was really cool but it was cold (laughs).”
Royden Bryson (ZAF) was first to advance into the semis with a win over the event’s in form surfer Nathaniel Curran (USA) 25. Bryson knows what it is like to be at this stage of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland and has firmed as favourite to take out the title.
“You always aspire to do well but when you are dealing with the ocean you never know what it will throw at you so I’m happy to be just 4 more waves away from a victory. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is but it is one step closer.”
Bryson got off to a strong start but then almost let the cat out of the bag by not fully utilizing his priority situations during the heat.
“I started with 7.5 and then my backup was a 6.17 and I had about 17 minutes to sit and pick a wave which was a little bad on my behalf because I should have been a little more selective.”
“At the end of the heat when Nathaniel had priority,” continued Bryson. “He didn’t really get a good wave so that’s the way it comes sometimes the roll of the dice.”
Yuri Sodre (BRA) had a tough encounter against current European junior champion Marc Lacomare (FRA). In the first exchange of the heat both surfers started strongly and it was the young Frenchman who took the upper hand. Lacomare then nailed a 6.5 out of a possible 10 to leave Sodri with a lot of work ahead of him if he wanted to get back in the heat.
Sodre called on all his years of experience to come back with a combination of powerful turns to score a 9.57 the highest single wave score of the day and a combined total of 17.77 to Lacomare’s 15.17 total.
“I started with a 7.5 and it was a good start but then Marc (Lacomare) started with an 8.67 and I thought oh no! I had to be smart and patient and just think about each turn one at a time. I wanted to do a good turn, wait, get some speed another turn and I was trying to draw a line of the wave in my mind”
“I was under a bit of pressure because Marc was in front and I needed a huge score. When it is man on man and there are good waves you have to be patient and feel good. This is my best result of the year and I am really excited to win and do better. I hope my body and my mind can get in rhythm with the ocean tomorrow”
Fellow Brazilian Raoni Monteiro will join Sodre in semi-final nº 2 as he had a last minute win over O’Neill CWC Tasmania champion Stuart Kennedy (AUS). Monteiro was back to his best and despite momentarily losing the lead when Kennedy snuck under his priority the former ASP “Dream Tour” surfer waited until the final 30 seconds to regain the lead with a solid 5.5 ride.
“That was such a hard battle because Stuart (Kennedy) was such a great competitor. I had the priority on the last wave he got and I should have gone on that one.”
“My next wave was ok and I had the priority so I picked that wave because I needed that score and I am happy to get through”
“Two Brazilians,” continued Monteiro about his upcoming clash against Yuri Sodre. “So one of us is going to make the final so I hope it is me (laughs). But I have to do the same as I did today to get to the final and I know it is going to be tough.”
The final day of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Scotland will unfold with the first call at 7:00 am (local Time).