2008 O’Neill Cold Water Classic: Day 4

You caught me. I root for the home team, but so what? You would too if every time one of the local boys got in the water the cliffs got just a little bit more crowded and the fans just a little bit louder.

So, what had all the boys on the cliff, and the old timers in the lot, and the pretty girls on the cruisers talking? Of course it was the heat stacked with local talent. I'm talking about Heat #9 in the Round of 64 with Jason "Ratboy" Collins, Nat Young, Josh Loya, and Brandon Guilmette — who all came out with guns blazing (metaphorical guns, that is).

What kind of heat was it, you ask? Well, Young threw up one turn on a wave and got a 6.17 that he ended up throwing away. In fact Nat and Rat surfed so well that only .04 points separated them. But in the end Nat got first, Rat second, and Loya and Guilmette were sent packing.

"It was a hard heat with a bunch of waves," said Young, "No one was sitting around, just catch a wave and then paddle, catch a wave and paddle."

And while we always seem to talk about strategy, what's your strategy like when it's high tide? When it's low tide? When you're dehydrated? Nat's strategy seems simple — he just wants to "do big turns and not fall." If only it were that easy for all of us.

Young is surfing in both the 'QS and Oakley Pro Junior events at this year's contest. With other locals claiming that the Coldwater main event is the be-all-end-all for competitive surfers in Santa Cruz, Young has his sights set on slightly higher aspirations.

"I want to do well in both, but the Junior is more important for me," said Young. "That's what will give me a chance to go to worlds."

Stay tuned as we move into Round 5 of the main event tomorrow and the remaining Round 2 heats of the Pro Junior.