O’Neill Coldwater Classic Steamer Lane: Day 3

Santa Cruz local Peter Mel — roaring at 40. Photo: ASP International

Santa Cruz local Peter Mel — roaring at 40. Photo: ASP International

Everyone went to bed last night knowing that it was going to be flat in the morning. After all, the contest had been called off on Tuesday as the south swell slowly fizzled out and reports said the waves were dropping further. But as always, there are benefits to not relying solely on the forecast; even Surfline is wrong sometimes. We woke up this morning to clean, slightly inconsistent though perfectly contestable surf. After hours of deliberation yesterday between event organizers, a handful of locals, and surfer's rep Austin Ware, the crew jumped at this morning's conditions and went full speed ahead through the last four heats of the round of 128.

"I saw it this morning and knew we were going to run it," said '97 CWC champion Peter Mel. Mel went out in the third heat of the day. On a morning where two 5's were winning heats, Mel managed two 7's, surfing on-rail the whole time. He came up the stairs visibly winded at the end of the heat—after all, he's in his 40's—but with a berth into the round of 96.

"High tide at the Lane is a battle," Mel said.

"Yeah Dad, but you're gnarly," little John Mel said, interrupting Pete's post-heat interview. "Can we go surf the point now?"

Despite calling the contest off for the day at noon, the four heats surfed today featured three past CWC champions: Mel, Kieran Horn and Josh Loya, all of whom advanced.

With the day now open, many surfers went north to look for beach breaks and corners out of the wind; the Gudauskas brothers and Ratboy took over a fairly empty lineup at the Lane; and industry pals headed off to the golf course.

The conditions are looking up. With a new swell set to hit tomorrow and a first heat featuring Jordy Smith and Nat Young alongside Rudy Palmboom and Killian Garland, we're sure to have something nice to watch come Thursday. —Matt Skenazy

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