O'Neill Coldwater Classic Scotland: perfect scenario

Thurso East pumped clean 6ft (1.5m) barrelling rights for the first day of action in the O'Neill Coldwater Classic Scotland. Despite the cold winds and freezing waters, the surfing conditions were perfect for world-class performances.

The first 10-point tide of the event was claimed by Micah Lester, from Great Britain. The 30-year-old surfer rode a perfect barrel across the Thurso reef, in the first seconds of his heat. The large crowd on hand cheered him.

"In the first minute it just turned on and I lucked into a bomb. A lot of the waves have been pinching on the take off and then you have to pull into the end section. All the guys were trying to hold the inside position so I sat wide and when I saw the set I bolted across, took off and lucked into one that went from the start to the finish. The best wave I’ve ever caught at Thurso East.", says Lester, a man returning to the waves after a serious ankle injury.

"I was nervous for sure. Against Shaun Cansdell you know for sure he is going to pull something out of the bag but if the waves don’t come through they don’t come through. It is quite typical for Thurso with such long range swells," explained Lester. "They have to wrap into the bay so you will get a bomb set and then there will be long waits with the cold wind and the cold water and you have to make sure you get the sets."

Romain Laulhe also showed incredible barrel riding skills to claim the highest two-wave total of the day with 17.54 out of 20. Laulhe put it all together and found himself in complete rhythm with the epic late afternoon session.

"I was excited about getting into the water but at the same time I haven’t surfed a lot this winter so I was quite stressed at the beginning but after the first good wave I could relax and enjoy my time in the water. Here, even if you have a good one you can lose a heat,” continued Laulhe. “There are not so many waves in a heat so it all came together today. You just have to thank Mother Nature for this gift.", tells Laulhe.

Richard Christie, from New Zealand, stamped his mark with two excellent waves exiting throaty deep barrels combined with huge front-side hacks to achieve a massive two-wave total of 17.50 out of 20 and advances through to Round 2 of competition.

"I saw the guys getting barrelled in the heats before me and I went out there thinking the same thing that I wanted to get one of those as well. I felt relaxed and it just kept pumping and it was great to get a couple of runners. To get in the tunnel. (laughs). It is so good to get back to Europe and to Scotland again,” continued Christie. “With the waves as fun as they are today I hope that it just keeps up."

The O'Neill Coldwater Classic Scotland is stop nº 2 of the O'Neill Coldwater Classic Series with surfers out to solidify their overall standings as well as gain valuable Asp World Rankings points.

UPCOMING O’NEILL CWC SCOTLAND ROUND ONE MATCH-UPS
Heat 21: Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY), Brendon Gibbens (ZAF), James Taipan Woods (AUS), Tom Buttler (GBR)
Heat 22: Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Kevin Sullivan (HAW), Christophe Allary (REU), Nicholas Squires (AUS)
Heat 23: Patrick Daniel (GBR), Chris Waring (USA), Alexander El Naib (DEU), Love Hodel (HAW)
Heat 24: Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Cory Arrambide (USA)

O’NEILL CWC SCOTLAND ROUND ONE RESULTS
Heat 1: Dion Atkinson (AUS) 15.33, Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 13.07, Stephen Walsh (AUS) 9.10, Mark Boyd 4.80
Heat 2: Gordan Fontaine (FRA) 13.30, Brian Toth (PRI) 12.27, Jano Belo (BRA) 11.37
Heat 3: Joan Duru (FRA) 15.23, Justin Mujica (PRT) 11.84, Hugo Savalli (REU) 8.17, Michael Bailey (USA) 5.20
Heat 4: Kristian Kymerson (BRA) 13.70, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.44, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 7.00, Morgan Faulkner (HAW) 6.07
Heat 5: Tim Boal (FRA) 13.33, Reubin Pearce (GBR) 10.10, Brad Ettinger (USA) 9.94, Chris Salisbury (AUS) 9.20
Heat 6: Jay Quinn (NZL) 12.16, Norman Landa (EUK) 11.70, Renato Galvao (BRA) 10.20, Perth Standlick (AUS) 9.53
Heat 7: Hodei Collazo (EUK) 13.00, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10.77, Brett Barley (USA) 7.60, Igor Munian (EUK) 6.40
Heat 8: Noboyuki Osawa (JPN) 11.63, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 10.83, Sam Lamiroy (GBR) 7.76, Nic von Rupp (DEU) 7.70
Heat 9: Charles Martin (GLP) 11.00, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 10.13, Jarrad Howse (AUS) 9.60, Joao Guedes (PRT) 9.50
Heat 10: Eneko Acero (EUK) 14.70, Russel Winter (GBR) 12.33, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 12.00, Willie Safreed (USA) 4.00
Heat 11: Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 15.60, Alain Riou (PYF) 9.16, Chris Friend (AUS) 6.26, Luca Petersen Guichard (NOR) 4.66
Heat 12: Patrick Beven (FRA) 9.33, Jayce Robinson (GBR) 7.34, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 5.33, Alan Stokes (GBR) 2.17
Heat 13: Indar Perez (EUK) 13.00, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 9.07, William Cardoso (BRA) 6.96, Jaymes Triglone (AUS) 4.00
Heat 14: Romain Cloitre (FRA) 13.33, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 9.16, Yannick de Jager (NDL) 8.93, Freddie Meadows (SWE) 4.93
Heat 15: Leonardo Neves (BRA) 16.00, Adrien Toyon (REU) 14.84, Dane Anderson (USA) 12.03, Oli Adams (GBR) 7.67
Heat 16: Richard Christie (NZL) 17.50, Killian Garland (USA) 9.84, Stuart Campbell (GBR) 8.83, Joackim Petersen Guichard (NOR) 8.67
Heat 17: Romain Laulhe (FRA) 17.54, Glen Hall (IRL) 13.26, Jonny Craft (USA) 9.77, Chris Noble (GBR) 3.60
Heat 18: Yuri Sodre (BRA) 7.66, Jared Thorne (USA) 6.20, Ruben Gonzalez (PRT) 5.40, Nick Riley (AUS) 5.27
Heat 19: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.50, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 8.20, Taylor Thorne (USA) 7.87
Heat 20: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 14.94, Micah Lester (GBR) 10.00, Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 9.23, Casey Grant (ZAF) 4.07