GISBORNE, New Zealand, March 24, 2011 - Top Seeds dominated proceedings on day two of The O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series 2011 with Australian Nic Muscroft, American Nat Young and Spanish surfer Gony Zubizarreta dominating proceedings as the event moved into the early stages of the Round of 96.
Conditions remained unruly on day two of the event with a persistent onshore wind that continued to hamper the quality of the solid 2.0m south swell that is hitting the Gisborne Region.
Nic Muscroft was explosive in his performance attacking the heavy close out sections to post a total heat score of 14.33 out of a possible 20 points.
"I was kinda feeling a bit wobbly, I don't know if any one has mentioned it but the water is really slippery, I don't know what it is" said Muscroft. "I had some wax on my feet and even took a block out with me." he said.
A former World Championship Tour surfer, Muscroft is 100% focused on requalifying to compete in the World Championship events.
"Yeah I am aiming to get into the top 32 by the mid year cut off but you've got to go really good especially in these six stars you have to make the final to make it a keeper."
Nat Young (USA) surfed to the highest heat score of the day posting a near perfect 9.67 point ride in his 17.5 point heat total. Young blazed a big lefthander with two huge forehand turns for his top scoring ride.
Young now faces top seed Adam Melling (AUS) and fellow day two stand out Nic Muscroft (AUS) along with Alex Chacon (AUS) in the next round.
Gony Zubizarreta (SPN) was one of the first top seeds to blow up in his heat dominating his opponents for an easy heat victory. The Spanish surfer was the only European to compete in the round of 96 today posting 16.50 to eliminate Masatoshi Ono (JPN) and James Woods (AUS).
The New Zealand surfers were well represented on day two with Maz Quinn (Gis, NZL) and Billy Stairmand (Rag, NZL) and both moving through to the Round of 48 surfers in the challenging conditions.
Stairmand, the only Kiwi to win an event of this rating (2010), was stoked to be surfing at an international level in New Zealand.
"It is pretty cool having everyone here. All the boys came over from Aussie and picked me up and it is cool to take them around and show them our waves. I am their little tour guide, its cool."
Stairmand won his heat today to progress alongside Tim Macdonald (AUS) who together defeated Chad DuToit (ZAF) and Mason Ho (HAW). He was philosophical about the conditions on offer at Pines on Wainui Beach.
"At least there are waves. It is New Zealand conditions, warm for us, cold for them" said the young natural footer from Raglan who admitted to feeling nerves prior to his heat.
Stairmand was joined by Maz Quinn who despite looking like being eliminated managed to score a 3.33 point ride on his last wave with 30 seconds remaning - enough to squeeze him into second place.
Other Kiwi's still alive include Richard Christie (Gis), Jay Quinn (Gis), Tim O'Connor (Mnt) and Matt Hewitt (Mnt).
Following the launch in New Zealand, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series will travel to its northernmost destination - Thurso, Scotland, for the 6 Star ASP World Tour event from April 13 until April 19, before culminating once again at the 6 Star Prime ASP World Tour event, the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Series, California, in Santa Cruz, October 24-30, 2011.
To watch the O'Neill Cold Water Classic LIVE log on to http://www.oneill.com/cwc/ONeill_Coldwater_Classic_Series_Home.html