Surf's Up! O'Neill Coldwater Classic in Santa Cruz
I spent Sunday at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic surfing competition, happening this week at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz’s most famous surf spot. I walked through the tan, mostly blonde, athletic, surf casual crowd I heard Australian accents and Brazilians speaking Portuguese. In 2012, the Coldwater Classic is part of the (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Championship Tour, meaning the world’s highest ranked surfers are here to compete. Competing surfers dominated the waves breaking below the cliffs as a crowd of hundreds cheered them on. The announcers used the word “gnarly” freely and without irony - grown up Spicolis from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Towards the end of the day I caught Kelly Slater, eleven time world surfing champion, take the water. As the ocean tried to eat him alive, Slater confidently stayed upright, cut back on waves and caught air in a 360 degree turn.
The Coldwater Classic feels like a surf carnival or a surf movie come to life. I highly recommend checking out the action if you are in Santa Cruz. If you are not in town, you can watch a live feed or learn more at the link below.