It was a morning of falling stars as a host of surfing’s big names who had made their way to this remote corner of the world for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Tasmania, had their stay surprisingly cut short.
American World Tour surfer, CJ Hobgood, big wave charger Mark Mathews, renowned talent, Cory Lopez, and Basque World Tour surfer, Aritz Aranburu were all knocked out of the round of 48 which took place in rough 4 foot seas at Nettles Bay in Marrawah.
If ever there has been a contest that has capitalised on its mobile format – this is it. The fourth day of competition following a lay day provided yet another new competition venue for the surfers on this northwest corner of Tasmania.
“I lingered at Bluff Reef this morning for a while,” said contest director Matt Wilson. “We wanted to give that wave every chance, but it just wasn’t consistent enough. It was a situation where it wasn’t big enough for the reef, but it was almost too big for the other locations.”
“We have six spots to chose from here on the Northwest coast,” said Matt. “There’s Bluff Reef, Bluff Beach, Kelpy’s, Lighthouse, Green’s and Nettle’s. I looked at them all. Nettles was the best of them.”
Although now out of the competition, Sydney surfer and the event’s ambassador, Mark Mathews has been loving his time in Tasmania. “I’ve never been to this part of the state before, so I’ve been loving exploring somewhere new,” he said. “Hopefully after this I’m going to be able to do the whole Cold Water Classic Series.”
Two surfers who managed to continue through to the round of 24 were South African surfing phenomenon Jordy Smith, as well as CJ’s brother Damien Hobgood, both winning their heats in convincing style.
“I was excited to come here,” said Damien. “I love surfing to be able to go and travel to new places. When we were up on the Goldie people started talking about how we would need a caravan down here – we started thinking what had we got ourselves into? But these people ended up moving out of their house to let us stay,” he said. “The people here are so incredibly friendly. It really makes a place.”
The round of 24 will continue tomorrow with the swell dropping slightly towards the afternoon, before a new swell is forecast to come in. The call will be made tomorrow March 28 at 7.30am.