Top Seeds Prep for O'Neill Cold Water Classic California

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series 6-Star PRIME O’Neill Cold Water Classic California will see some of the world’s best up-and-coming surfers battle for the crucial ratings points available towards the 2010 ASP World Tour from November 2 through 8, 2009 at Santa Cruz’s prized pointbreak of Steamer Lane.

Several ASP Dream Tour Surfers including Californians Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 27, Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 25, current ASP World No. 3 Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22, South African talent Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), 21, and Roy Powers (Hanalei, HI), 28, will tackle hungry up-and-comers including Dusty Payne (Lahaina, HI), 20, and talented South African Brandon Jackson (Durban, ZAF), 22, who are out to solidify their spot amongst next year’s elite.

Payne, who is fresh off of a fifth place finish at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada, is currently sitting in the No. 10 position on the ASP WQS ratings and the young Hawaiian is looking to post another solid result to finalize his spot on next year’s ASP Dream Tour.

“This is the last leg of the year and I’m stoked,” Payne said. “I’ve spent some time in Santa Cruz and I went up there earlier this year just to get familiar with it again. I really want to try and get a good result at Steamer Lane.”

Although there are several ASP Dream Tour competitors competing in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, Payne is not shaken by the list of top names on the seed list, but looks at the challenge as an opportunity to acclimate himself amongst the elite list of surfers he hopes to be a part of for the 2010 season.

“I don’t change my approach to competition,” Payne said. “If I want to be on the ASP World Tour next year, I’ve got to be able to beat those guys and I might as well start now.”

Although Payne would normally have to adjust to the chilly waters of Santa Cruz, the diverse regular-footer is looking forward to Santa Cruz’s relatively warmer weather and water temperatures after spending some time in Canada. Payne also hopes to hone in on his familiarity of righthand pointbreaks to achieve a result at Steamer Lane.

“It’s probably not even going to feel that cold after coming down from Canada,” Payne said. “I like Steamer Lane, it’s a really fun wave. It’s a point break and I grew up surfing a point, so I’m looking forward to the contest.”

Jackson, who was also a standout at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Canada, finishing in an impressive third place overall, is out to notch another keeper result into his score line on The Grind. The powerful regular-footer is currently sitting in the No. 15 position on the ASP WQS, which is the last qualifying spot for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour, and Jackson is out to add another result in the ASP 6-Star PRIME event to further climb the ratings.

“I pretty much knew I needed to make the Quarters of better if I wanted to do any damage and I was able to make the Semifinals in Canada and I’d like to get another result down in Santa Cruz,” Jackson said. “It’s time to do the work I need to do to qualify for the World Tour.”

The trip to the legendary righthand pointbreak of Steamer Lane is Jackson’s first, but he hopes that his time spent at New Pier, his local break, will help his attack on the rippable Santa Cruz walls.

“I’ve never been down to Santa Cruz before in my life, but I’m looking forward to it,” Jackson said. “I know it’s a right point and I grew up on long rights, so that’s my game plan. I need a result to do well and it’s a 6-Star PRIME, so I’m just psyched on this Cold Water leg.”

In addition to the warriors on the ASP WQS, the amphitheatre of Steamer Lane will also play host to the ASP Grade-3 Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships, which runs in conjunction with the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California.

The Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships’ ASP Grade-3 status is the final event on the 2009 series not is not only crucial in finalizing who is the top regional ASP Pro Junior surfer, but also who will find their way to Narrabeen, Australia to compete for the title of ASP World Junior Champion.

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