Santa Cruz, Calif., Oct. 14, 2007 – Reigning ASP World Junior Champion and current No. 1 on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), posted an incredible win at the 2007 O'Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep over fellow finalists Kieran Horn (Santa Cruz, CA), Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) and Josh Loya (Santa Cruz, CA).
"This feels amazing," Smith said. "I came to Santa Cruz with the hopes of aligning myself with all the great names who have won this event and now I have. I'm absolutely thrilled."
While local powerbroker Horn held onto the lead for the majority of the Final, Smith ripped into a last-minute inside righthander and proceeded to tear it to shreds. The score came in at an excellent 9.50 out of a possible 10, which ties local Bud Freitas (Santa Cruz, CA) for the highest of the event, and rocketed Smith into the lead
"The waves weren't the best in the final, and I definitely needed a backup score at the end," Smith said. "Kieran (Horn) let one slip by and I stroked into it and was able to get the score I needed. I've been working with Al (Merrick) a bit as well as my Dad so my boards have been feeling pretty good."
The victory slightly increases Smith's stranglehold on the ASP WQS ratings, but the South African phenom will continue to compete on The Grind until the year is out.
"From here, I'm off to the Canary Islands to compete in the 6-Star Prime event there," Smith said. "I'll be looking to drop a low score and further solidify my ratings lead on the 'QS. I definitely think it helps to finish higher. Even though I've qualified already, the higher I finish means the higher I'll be seeded on the ASP World Tour next year."
Local hero Kieran Horn, who claimed the O'Neill Cold Water Classic in 2003, looked good throughout the Final of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep, utilizing his extensive local knowledge and patented rail-savvy forehand attack.
"I was able to sneak in two of the better waves of the heat and get some pretty good scores," Horn said. "But I let that one slip through and Jordy (Smith) is a freak so he could have gotten the score on any wave out there. It feels good to come post a solid result, but I would have loved to bring the Title back to Santa Cruz. Congratulations to Jordy though."
Simpson, who was formerly 47th on the ASP WQS ratings, jumped up eight spots to No. 39 which puts him in excellent position to strike the top 15 and qualify for the Dream Tour in 2007.
"I'm stoked with my result in Santa Cruz," Simpson said. "I've been working on my equipment and my heat strategy and it's been paying off lately. Hopefully I can carry on the momentum into the upcoming events and make a run at qualifying."
Adam Virs (Ventura, CA) was eliminated from O'Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep in his Semifinal heat this morning, but not before he clinched the Title in the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep, earning him a bonus prize of $10,000 as well as an all-new Jeep Patriot (valued at $26,000).
"I'm super stoked that Macy's put on the Trifecta for us," Virs said. "It's been a long season and to come out on top feels amazing. I think it's great what they're doing for professional surfing in California and I'll be back next year to defend my title."
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) and Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA) finished second and third in the Trifecta Standings, and receive $3,500 and $1,500 respectively for their efforts.
All O'Neill Cold Water Classic presented by Jeep as well as Oakley Pro Junior results and highlights is available at www.coldwaterclassic.net
O'Neill Cold Water Classic pres. by Jeep – ASP WQS 4-Star
Semifinals: 16 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advance)
SF 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.33, Kieran Horn (USA) 11.64, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 10.83, Adam Virs (USA) 10.13
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.60, Josh Loya (USA) 13.97, Jason Collins (USA) 12.47, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.74
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.43
2 – Kieran Horn (USA) 14.90
3 – Brett Simpson (USA) 9.90
4 – Josh Loya (USA) 6.90
Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series presented by Jeep – ASP North America Specialty Series
1 – Adam Virs (Ventura, CA) $10,000 plus All-New Jeep Patriot
2 – Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) $3,500
3 – Austin Ware (Solana Beach, CA) $1,500