Final day wrap up from the CWC
By Matt Skenazy
There is a sense of accumulation in all of this. After a week of competition this year's Coldwater Classic is already being called the best ever. The best waves, the best surfers. The best, the best, the best.
Taking home top honors was San Clemente boy Nathan Yeomans who took down Australian Heath Joske in a maxing out Steamer Lane final. Both surfers laid down powerful arcing turns on their respective ways to the final, but in the end it had to be Yeomans.
All day there were two options for high scoring waves—sit off the cliff and tear apart one of the racing rights with some technical turns, or sit way out the back and catch the middle peak bombing lefts. Joske chose the cliff. Yeomans sat out the back, waiting for the lefts.
It was great—Australian versus American, baby-face versus hippie beard, goofy versus regular. It was all there.
With ten minutes to go, Yeomans had already caught six waves, all of which were solid scores, and Joske was in combo-land. The biggest set of the day, maybe of the competition, came through. Twenty waves, maybe more. Each of the finalists took a bunch on the head, the crowd gasped, and when the ocean had settled five minutes later, it was clear that time had run out on Joske.
Yeomans was carried up the cliff, beating his chest and screaming. It's his first six star prime win, and catapults him from 21st to 6th in the WQS ratings headed into the final few events of the year.
"To be up there with the guys that have won this event over the past 35 years, I can't believe it," Yeomans said between screams of joy. "I'm speechless. I've lost my voice already."
Yesterday I reported that Jarrad Howse had taken home the Coldwater Classic Series victory, but it was Blake Thorton who edged Howse bythe narrowest of margins to take the $50,000. Thorton had lost in his first heat earlier in the week and was already back home in Australia before he got the call last night that he won. He hoped on another flight and came all the way back for the awards presentation.
"This is going towards a down payment on a house in Sydney for me," Thorton said, looking tired from the flight, but stoked on his hefty check.
The Oakley Pro Jr. semifinal #1 was the heat of the day. Hawaiian Tonino Benson won the heat but it was Conner Coffin's charging that had the crowd in hysterics. Coffin is maybe 5'4", and he was on waves that were easily three times his size, charging everything that came his way, grabbing his rail on the bottom turn and hooking huge backside turns. If this whole contest thing doesn't end up working out for him, I'm sure he can get a bigger board and make a solid big wave charger.
The winner of the OPJ was the Pride of the West Side, Nat Young, who grabbed a few bombs of his own out at middle peak during the final to combo the field and take back to back to back titles at Steamer Lane (two years ago he won the OPJ, last year he won the main event).
"I was bummed about earlier this week," Young said in about his 40th interview of the competition. "I just wanted to win."
The champagne was sprayed. The crowd, which had been standing three or four deep along the railing, dispersed. And a farewell set rolled through Middle Peak, as everyone waits till next year, when we'll do it all over again.