April 29, 2009 - Thurso, Scotland - With a buzz around Northern Scotland of a swell to come, the O’Neill Cold Water Classic by Swatch 2009 was put on hold for its first day of competition. Contest director Matt Wilson made the final decision at 11am on a grey Scottish morning at Brims Ness, looking out over a small swell breaking on the reef.
Contest director Matt Wilson made the final decision at 11am on a grey Scottish morning at Brims Ness, looking out over a small swell breaking on the reef.
“We’re seeing some really positive signs in the forecast,” he said. “Even the fact that it’s smaller today is promising, because it means the forecast is holding true.”
Local legend and event ambassador Andy Bain is beginning to get excited. “Normally when we see a swell like this coming in we’re looking at Thurso East being double overhead on the sets. Plus, according to the charts, it’s going to be clean on Saturday, and should – if conditions stay as forecast - carry on to the Sunday morning.”
For English surfer and the other event ambassador, Sam Lamiroy, the day brought no surprises. “When I woke up this morning I expected this – overcast with a strong wind from the southeast and small waves,” he said. “It’s borderline contestable, but we know we’re going to get better waves.”
With a mobile format and a lot of talk of a big clean swell, all eyes will be on the breaks of Brims Ness and Thurso East as the week progresses.
“Brims is short sharp and intense,” says Sam. “The peak is like a cobra head and you backdoor the tube.” As for Thurso East, “this is a much longer more high performance wave,” he said.
When these waves do break properly, they are world class - as even the young North Shore talent of John John Florence can attest.
“This is such a cool place,” said John John. “And the waves are really good. They’re a bit like home – it’s got a lot of power and there are a lot of barrels. I hope it gets bigger.”
The 16 year old from Hawaii was one of the many surfers standing out in the cold after an early morning’s surf on the reef, waiting for the call.
“It’s definitely cold here,” he said. But despite learning his skills in the warm Hawaiian waters John John is quick adapting to the freezing temperatures up here on the other side of the earth.
“It’s fun to do something different,” he said. “I like putting on all the wetsuit stuff. It’s a mission but it changes it up a bit. The only thing is it changes your surfing,” he said. “You have to get used to being in the water with all this stuff on.”
The next call will be made tomorrow, April 30 2009 at 7.30am
Visit www.oneill.com/cwc/scotland for the daily highlight shows and all the latest news