The third day of competition at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic and the event found itself at its third new location where surfing’s big names took to the water.
With conditions easing ever so slightly, contest director Matt Wilson chose Marrawah’s exposed Lighthouse Beach as the spot to finish off the round of 96.
In this isolated northwest corner of Tasmania, the likes of Jordy Smith, Cory Lopez, Ben Dunn, aerial master Josh Kerr, and Damien Hobgood made the most of the powerful beach break.
There are high expectations for the 21-year-old South African surfing phenomenon, Jordy Smith – winner of this ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) two years ago.
And he didn’t fail to disappoint, waiting until the second half of his heat to pull out his high scoring waves. “It’s interesting being back on the WQS,” he said, “because you can go through with 5’s… I can’t get away with that on the World Tour,” he said.
This is the first time for Jordy on Australia’s island state, but he is fitting right into the Tasmanian waters.
“I met a few of the locals yesterday evening out in the water. I was asking them how to get back because it was getting pretty dark and we were pretty far from anything,” he said. “They were like, no worries catch a ride with us. It was crazy driving through the night with all the Tasmanian Devils about and stuff. We almost hit something the other day – I would have felt bad. We didn’t though, we stopped and let it cross the road.”
The heat of the day today was a battle of spectacular young talent, with 19-year-old up and coming Australian star, Owen Wright taking it out ahead of Dusty Payne, Lincoln Taylor and Wiggoly Dantas.
“It was a pretty close heat,” said Owen who has been appreciating the good conditions made possible by the mobile format of the event. “The first day was incredible – the Bluff is an awesome wave,” he said. “But it’s great it’s mobile. It keeps all the options open and you can get the best waves every day.”
“I’ve been over to Tasmania before,” he said. “But never to this corner. It’s a nice untouched place – it’s an awesome place to have an event.”
As Rob Bain, O’Neill’s Marketing Manager said; “It’s not just about the surfing here. We’ve had amazing waves and most of the surfers are discovering them for the first time ever. But this is also more like a road trip – it’s about the different experiences.”
“Yesterday we had the most amazing sunset here – it went crazy purple, and later that evening we saw the most incredible bright stars in the sky I have ever seen. And the first day we were sitting in someone’s house watching this perfect reef break,” he said. “It’s all those things that make this event.”