Oakley's Nate Yeomans Claims O'Neill Cold Water Classic, Oakley's Nat Young Earns Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championship
History was made today at the conclusion of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME O’Neill Cold Water Classic California and Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships. The newly upgraded event offering more points and a larger prize purse than ever also saw record numbers of spectators and the biggest conditions this competition has seen in its storied history that dates back to 1985.
The action packed day culminated with Oakley’s Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 28, claiming the main event over Heath Joske (AUS), 20, and Oakley’s Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 19, winning the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships and the ASP North America Pro Junior Series Title.
In addition, as the fifth and final stop on the first ever O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series (after completing events in Tasmania, Scotland, South Africa and Canada), the Series winner was awarded. Australian Blake Thornton claimed the staggering $50,000 prize money despite being knocked out in the Round of 96 after both Jarrad Howse (AUS) and Adam Melling (ZAF) failed to reach the points they needed to beat Thornton.
Howse was knocked out in the Round of 48 in a heat, which saw Adam Melling take victory. However needing to reach the Finals to claim the prize, Melling was ousted by his fellow “Lord” from the Finals of the Cold Water Classic Scotland, Lord Luke Munro.
The O’Neill Cold Water Classic California’s ASP 6-Star PRIME status attracted some of the world’s top surfing prospects out to qualify for the 2010 ASP World Tour, who were all hungry to capitalize on the mass of points available at the premier event.
Oakley’s Yeomans wasted no time in the bombing surf at Steamer Lane, jumping on the scoreboard early and leading the heat throughout the entire bout against Joske. The San Clemente native capitalized on the solid surf at middle peak, dropping a 15.33 heat total, to earn the convincing win. Yeomans dominated on both his forehand and backhand to take the biggest victory of his career.
“I can’t believe it,” Yeomans said. “This is the biggest result of my career and I’m speechless. I’ve been winning 2-Stars for too long and it was time for a big 6-Star win. To have my name up there with all of the great surfers who have won this event over the years is amazing.”
Yeomans, who was sitting in the No. 27 position on the ASP WQS entering the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, catapulted up the ratings and is currently sitting within the top 15 after his impressive performance. The win helps his cause towards qualification for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour and with two ASP 6-Star PRIME events remaining in the season, the goofy-footer will look to Hawaii to solidify his position amongst the top 45 in the world for next year.
“I’m just floating right now,” Yeomans said. “This just gets me so pumped to try and get another result in Hawaii.”
Joske, who was in devastating form throughout the event, plowed through several of the world’s top talents including former ASP World Tour surfer and current top ASP WQS competitor Luke Munro (AUS), 26, to earn the runner up finish behind Yeomans, but was unable to find a rhythm in the Final.
“I’m over the moon with the second place,” Joske said. “Nate (Yeomans) just smoked it out there, and I couldn’t even buy a wave. I was just getting flogged by eight-foot sets. I’m stoked for him and pretty happy.”
Joske, who groomed his competitive skills as a standout on the ASP Pro Junior Series, will log 3063 points on to his current rating on The Grind, helping his seed for next year’s quest for a spot on the coveted ASP Dream Tour.
“This is such a great result for me and it’s really going to help my seed for next year,” Joske said. “Hopefully I can do well in Hawaii also and give it a good shot for the World Tour next year.”
Munro earned a third place finish in the main event. The explosive Australian talent who was sitting in the No. 15 position on the ASP WQS needed the valuable ratings points on offer at the contest. The Semifinals finish will significantly help his cause towards qualification for the 2010 ASP World Tour.
“This result is really important for my year and my career,” Munro said. “I was right on the bubble for qualifying and this will bump me up a few spots. So I’m really happy to have made the Semifinals.”
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 20, who recently earned an equal third finish at the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge in Bali, also claimed an equal third place finish by upsetting current ASP World No. 3 Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22 in the Quarterfinals, but was unable to surpass Yeomans in the Semifinals.
“The Quarterfinals was a great heat win,” Muniz said. “Adriano (de Souza) is one of my heroes and to win a heat against him was amazing.”
Local favorite Oakley’s Nat Young, who was the 2008 O’Neill Cold Water Classic California champion and the 2007 Oakley Pro Junior champion, won the event with amazing wave selection at his home break of Steamer Lane. Young dominated his heat to top fellow finalists Tonino Benson (HAW), 19, Dylan Goodale (HAW), 17, and Cody Thompson (Jacksonville, FL), 20.
“I’m so psyched,” Young said. “I wanted to win; I wanted to do well in this contest. I had a shocker in the WQS and it got me fired up and made me want to win.”
The victory also saw the talented goofy-footer pass Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 19, to take the title of 2009 ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion.
“It was in the back of my head going into this event,” Young said. “It’s great to have won the regional title at home.”
Although Young won the ASP North America Pro Junior title, he has officially qualified for the prestigious ASP World Junior Championships via the ASP WQS as the top mainland American surfer of junior age on The Grind.
“I was the only kid from Santa Cruz in the junior, so I’m stoked, "Young said. “It’s great to build momentum up for Worlds, even though itâs far away. Itâs good to win this event at home with so many good guys in the draw.”
Also representing ASP North America in the ASP World Junior Championships will be stylish regular footer Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 19, Luke Davis (Capistrano Beach, CA), 2008 ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), 20, and Brent Reilly (Carlsbad, CA), 19.
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