GISBORNE, New Zealand (Tuesday, March 29, 2011) - Adam Melling (AUS) has clinched the first event of the 2011 O'Neill Cold Water Classic at Gisborne, New Zealand today claiming the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) six-star event in the last 30 seconds over Brazilian surfer Willian Cardoso.
The final took place at The Pines on Wainui Beach in clean 1.5m waves with offshore winds. This was despite a horrid forecast of gale force onshore winds for today. The miraculous turn around in weather had the crowds out, rugged up and absorbing the action that unfolded in the last seven heats.
Melling posted 15.20 out of a possible 20 points for the win, made even more special given he was celebrating his 26th birthday.
"I am 26 today and I won the final... I am stoked" said Melling after being chaired up the beach by his mates.
"Pretty fun out there, it turned on for the final. Even though the tide come up there were still sets. It was a little slow at the start but came on in the end, last 90 seconds anyway" added Melling of his last minute victory after scoring an 8.03 point ride for two huge forehand turns with only seconds to spare."
"At the start of the heat there, I was looking back in at the beach and I was thinking wow I don't have any waves. I missed one at the start and I was freaking out a bit and Willian was down the beach but I knew I was in a good spot and if a 'sucky' one came in I knew I could bang out the turns and get the score."
At the prize giving after an emotional haka performed by an inspired local Maori, Melling was awarded with a traditional Maori weapon called a tewhatewha, in the tradition of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series where the winners receive meaningful awards from the host country.
Melling received $20,00 0 USD for the win and moves up one place on the ASP One World Rankings to 23rd and hopes to be able to attend more O'Neill Cold Water Classic events in a bid to win the Series and claim the $50,000 USD prize money for the Series win.
After the win Melling was full of praise for the Gisborne Region. "It is a perfect spot for the comp - not too cold but some freezing mornings still. So many different waves on offer and you can hide from the weather."
Despite placing second scoring 13.67 points after holding the lead for more than 29 minutes, Cardoso was still happy with his result today.
"I am so stoked, it was a really really fun day."
"I did my best in the final and I take an 8.5 on my first wave and only need a back up and I got 5.0 on my second wave. Adam is a great surfer and on the world tour. The last second he changed the result but I am stoked to get a great start to the year" said Cardoso who has been travelling in motor homes with eleven of his Brazilian friends enjoying waking up at the beach each day and enjoying the New Zealand coastline.
Placing third today were Australians Tom Whitaker and Stu Kennedy.
By way of his third place, Whitaker jumped one place on the ratings to 32nd pushing Bobby Martinez (USA) to 33rd. However this was the last thing on Whitaker's mind after losing to his good mate Adam Melling.
"Yeah mate it is his birthday, we sat 200m apart we didn't want a piece of each other in that heat and he got the waves, I didn't. It is the only way you want to lose to a good buddy. To watch him go on and win it is epic, we are going to have a good time tonight."
Kennedy on the other hand was left wondering what might have been after losing to Cardoso.
"I don't know, I didn't think one of his scores was a six, but that is what the judges are there for and they do their thing. I don't know, I was in the water right there."
Despite the afterthoughts Kennedy was still happy with the third placing.
"I am pretty happy with third, would have been good to have a final with Adam on his birthday but I will be there to chair him up the beach when he wins" said Kennedy who also gave glowing reviews of the event held over the past week. "New Zealand is great. I can't wait to come back next year. This place is perfect for it you know."
Please see below for the final results from the O'Neill Cold Water Classic - Gisborne completed today (Tuesday 29th March).
Heat 1 – Adam Melling, AUS defeated Gony Zubizarreta, ESP
Heat 2 – Tom Whitaker, AUS defeated Joan Duru, FRA
Heat 3 – Willian Cardoso, BRA defeated Thiago Camarao, BRA
Heat 4 - Stu Kennedy, AUS defeated Miguel Pupo, BRA
Heat 1 – Adam Melling, AUS defeated Tom Whitaker, AUS
Heat 2 – Willian Cardoso, BRA defeated Stu Kennedy, AUS
Adam Melling, AUS defeated Willian Cardoso, BRA
Following the launch in New Zealand, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series will travel to its northernmost destination - Thurso, Scotland, for the ASP 6-Star event from April 13 until April 19, before culminating once again at the ASP PRIME event, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series, California, in Santa Cruz, October 24-30, 2011.
For O'Neill Cold Water Classic highlights log on to http://www.oneill.com/cwc/ONeill_Coldwater_Classic_Series_Home.html