Scrapping on Day Six of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic
On a day like today, with the weather being the way it is, it seems like only the pack of dogs that are wildly playing on the gelid beach could possibly be enjoying themselves. It's just too cold, too rainy, too windy to play the role of smiling writers today. So we're going to shiver instead. We're going to huddle together in a tent, only slightly protected from the elements, jeer at the dogs, and shiver until they finish the round. They didn't bill this event as "The Coldest Comp on the Planet" for nothing, and I'm left with the realization that someone from the marketing department at O'Neill is laughing right about now, reveling in their "first in last out" mantra and the drop in temperature.
At least I'm not that guy, I think to myself as I see a red-faced, teeth-chattering water photographer come in from the lineup at the backup location at North Chesterman's Bay. Coldest comp on the planet, eh. We've had an array of conditions since the event began nearly a week ago: sheet glass peaks, wind-blown slop, open-faced walls. But the one thing that remains a constant is the cold. You can't escape it here. And today, the sixth day of the event, and the cold is everywhere.
Some chose to deal with the elements by draping themselves head to toe in space-age neoprene. Still yet, others opted to tough it out for the 25-minute heats, wearing only a thick suit and a heavy pair of brass. This was the case for today's duel between Cory Lopez (who went head to toe in gear) and Ricky Whitlock (who rocked a solo 4/3) when they met up in their round of 16 heat.
Feel free to blame it on the benefits of being warm or the decade Lopez spent on the World Tour, but Cory was in prime form, making the most of the lackluster conditions, and defeated Whitlock soundly. So far, Cory's proven himself a surfer worthy of note every time he steps in the water at this event. A year removed from the World Tour and on the heels of what has to be one of the most media-fed years of his career, Lopez has never looked better and could very well win this event outright.
And then there was an Irishmen they call "Micro." At 5-feet nothing, Glenn Hall, an Australian with Irish roots who surfs under the Celtic flag, dropped Canadian jaws today when he surfed with enough power and aggression to warrant himself a new nickname. I like "Macro" personally. Call him what you will, but Hall definitively won his heat today with a 9.5 and an 8.6 and will draw Tofino's own Peter Devries tomorrow.
Devries, who also moved on from his round of 16 heat today when he disarmed European surfer Joan Duru, has once again been the focal point of the event. In the half hour before his surf against Duru, the beach saw the thickest showing of fans thus far, with an estimated 500 frigid bodies cheering on the local boy.
"It would just mean so much for this town if Pete won," I overheard someone say at the beach.
It would indeed, but just try telling that to Cory Lopez and Glenn Hall.
Keep your eyes glued to Surfermag.com as we're crowning a winner tomorrow at the final day of the O'Neill Cold Water Classic Canada.