- 05 June 2009 | Surfing
It started in a remote corner at edge of the world where the Southern Ocean pounds the isolated Tasmanian shoreline. The O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series then moved up to the northern town of Thurso in Scotland for its perfect but freezing reef breaks.
The southernmost and northernmost events in professional surfing brought together exploration and competition within the depths of nature.
And now come the wilds. Cape Town with its selection of treacherous waves around the Cape Peninsula under the towering cliffs of the Table Mountain Range, is home to the third stop on the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series.
From June 20 until June 24, the world’s best surfers, including South African World Tour star and event ambassador, Jordy Smith, will venture to the rugged surf spots scattered around the Cape Peninsula to brave the elements.
With water temperatures around 10 degrees, heavy winter storms generating consistent and potentially huge swells, the prevalence of bull kelp around many of the surf spots and the threat of Great White Sharks (against which precautions will be taken), the O’Neill Cold Water Classic South Africa can rightly claim to be the ‘wildest event in professional surfing’.
“It’s going to be an incredible event,” says Jordy Smith, winner of the inaugural Cold Water Classic Series event in Tasmania. “Cape Town offers an amazing variety of waves. There are both sides of the peninsula to choose from, which can hold all types of swell – but it can get pretty extreme out there.”
Keeping the event mobile as with the rest of the series, there are a huge variety of waves to choose from during the week for the 4 Star ASP WQS event. Misty Cliffs, a favourite wave of Jordy’s in the area, is just one of the world-class beach breaks on offer with fast, hollow waves.
A few of the other options include Outer Kom - an open ocean left hand reef break featuring a radical drop outside a giant kelp bed and a great barrel section, Crayfish Factory – a heavy right hander with a ledging reef takeoff before running down a kelp infested point, and Kalk Bay – a dredging left hand barrel across a very shallow slab of reef that provides potential 10 point tube rides.
“The Cape Town event is going to be awesome,” says Australian surfer Jarrad Howse, just one of the top name surfers who is following the entire Cold Water Classic Series. “I've been there once but never surfed, so I'm looking forward to getting there early and exploring the variety of world class reef and beach breaks on offer before the rest of the competitors arrive.”
Paul Canning, O’Neill’s South African marketing manager is eagerly anticipating the Cold Water Classic Series’ arrival in Cape Town. “The standard has been set pretty high with the opening two events especially in so far as surf,” he said. “I hope we get some nice big storms over the week of our event so we are able to continue this high quality.”
Living up to its promise to explore the wilds and venture into the unknown, the CWC Series has so far exceeded all expectations.
“The surfers all love it,” says Jarrad Howse. “It has created an experience that’s so different to the typical warm water, junky surf, hotels on the beach style,” he said. “It has incorporated travel, exploration and discovery and tested us all with freezing water – but with the opportunity to surf good waves in amazing locations.”
In addition, with its own Series ranking list, there is also $50,000 up for grabs for the winner.
Currently leading the Series is the CWC Scotland winner Lord Adam Melling. However with the Series well and truly underway there is going to be some stiff competition in South Africa including the likes of former World Tour Champion Sunny Garcia as well as young Hawaiian talent John John Florence and local legend Sean Holmes.
A 4-Star event on the ASP World Qualifying Series, the CWC South Africa still rewards the surfers with just as many CWC Series points as the other six star CWC events – bringing them ever closer to that $50,000 prize money as the series winner.
Adam Melling is closely followed in the rankings by Joan Duru, Yuri Sodre and Nathan Hedge and Scotland’s runner up Lord Luke Munro.
Despite winning the inaugural Cold Water Classic event in Tasmania, the South African WCT star Jordy Smith was forced to miss Scotland with clashing events, but still sits in 6th place on the rankings list – and will be one of the favourites in his home country.